Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has introduced plans to ensure four million households get cooking gas by 2019.
Osinbajo disclosed the measure at the Domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Implementation Stakeholders Workshop in Abuja with the theme “Unlocking the Opportunities in Domestic LPG Value Chain”.
He said LPG, otherwise known as cooking gas, had been set up to ultimately reach 21 million households in 15 years.
Osinbajo said in furtherance to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s commitment to the growth of the domestic LPG industry, an inter-ministerial committee had been set up.
“I have the privilege of chairing that committee. This committee would oversee the implementation of our interventions under the domestic LPG expansion programme.
It would start with the conversion of an initial four million households to LPG use as cooking fuel within two years.
It will progress to 10 million households in five years and eventually converting an additional 21 million households over 15 years by addressing the challenges inhibiting market penetration.
This committee would be supported by a programme management office that would collaborate with stakeholder ministries, departments and parastatals,’’ he said.
Osinbajo said the private sector would be the main driver of the initiative and pledged that consumer rights would be protected while safety standards would not be compromised.
He said with the nation’s huge gas reserves and human capital, creating an enabling environment was the missing ingredient hindering its full potential to becoming energy sufficient.
The vice-president said gas had the potential to revolutionise domestic fuel consumption, transportation, industrialisation and power generation.
“The administration is meticulous and focused in unlocking the opportunities for utilisation of gas as catalyst for sustainable nation-building,’’ he said.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser (Gas and Upstream), Gbite Adeniji, said the sector required investments of $5.2 billion over the next five years.
Kachikwu said: “Safety standards, strengthening regulators and increasing capacity will be worked out in the workshop. It is our moral and social responsibility to ensure that no Nigerian dies using kerosene or firewood.’’
The Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied and Natural gas (NLNG), Tony Attah, said Nigeria had grown from producing 50,000 metric tonnes in 2007 to 400,000 metric tonnes per annum in 2015.
“Our involvement in the domestic LPG market has effectively removed the supply problems that affected the availability of the product. There are bottlenecks beyond our control such as the imposition of VAT on LPG produced in the country while volumes imported are granted VAT waivers. The government needs to intervene by removing fiscal and regulatory bottlenecks necessary for creation of an environment conducive for private sector business,’’ he said.
The workshop was jointly organised by the Office of the Vice-President, in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NLNG.