By G9ija

The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) says the Federal Government needs the support of the private sector, to implement the National Gas Policy aimed at deepening gas utilisation in Nigeria.

Its Chairman, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, who spoke in Lagos, said the nation would soon begin to reap the benefits of the government’s gas policies.

Some of these policies included the Autogas Scheme, which was formally inaugurated on Decemeber 1 by President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Gas Expansion Programme.

Oyebanji said: “We believe that there will be a lot of activities in the gas sector this year, both Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

“We expect the government policies in these areas to begin to bear fruits and gas consumption, both for our domestic cooking gas and autogas, will move forward.

“We cannot say that in  2021 that autogas will replace the Premium Motor Spirit totally, but we can begin to see some progress being made in that area.”

He noted that the declaration of 2021 to 2030 as the decade of gas was a great move, but required the support of the private sector to ensure its success.

According to him, marketers are ready to key into the autogas scheme, but need assurance that their investment will be protected.

Oyebanji said: “If you want CNG retailers across the country, you will need a lot of financial investment.

“Those who are going to make the investment also need some assurances regarding the protection of their funds.

“There should be continuous engagement and involvement of the private sector as the policy is being fine-tuned and formulated, so that by the time it comes out, it will be driven largely by the private sector.”

Oyebanji was optimistic that significant progress would be made on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill in 2021, adding that stakeholders should be carried along in the process.

He said that the oil and gas industry might begin to pick up during the second quarter of the year, if the country was not forced into another lockdown, due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.