By Victor Ogunje
The federal government yesterday inaugurated the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) in the Southwest Nigeria as part of its efforts to make gas an alternative energy for industrial, transportation and domestic uses.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, who performed the inauguration in Ado -Ekiti, Ekiti, described the programme as a practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by using gas value chain as catalyst for social and economic development in Nigeria.
Sylva said Nigeria was richly endowed with mineral resources, specifically, hydrocarbon, crude oil and natural gas with proven reserves of over two hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
He said: “The programme main objective is to reinforce and expand gas supply as well as stimulate demand in Nigeria through effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.
“The programme is geared towards the implementation of Mr. President’s June 12, 2019, promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the current decade by ensuring that locally produced, available, accessible and affordable fuel is sufficiently supplied across the country.”
Sylva noted that the implementation phase of the programme would span across the length and breadth of the nation and stated that 500,000 young technicians and engineers would be trained and empowered in the course of implementing the programme.
Moreover, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also commended Buhari’s dedication to the programmes, which were directed at improving the lives of the people through job creation, social security schemes, stimulating the economy, and attending to security challenges in the nation.
Fayemi said his administration recognised the various benefits embedded in the NGEP initiative that ranged from the reduction of importation of fuel to the creation of employment opportunity for the youths and improvement of access to gas for transportation and domestics uses at affordable price in the state
He also assured that 5,000 youth from Ekiti State would participate in the programmes as part of his commitment to the success of the NGEP.
The governor added that a pilot of 20 micro distribution centres would be established across the 16 local governments of the state to enable people at the grassroots have access to affordable and sustainable cooking gas.
Fayemi said: “We as government in Ekiti State will continue to key-in to programmes of federal government that are of immense benefits to our people. In lieu of this, we recognise the transformational opportunity presented by the NGEP to reduce demand for import of fuel, create employment for our teeming youth and improve access to gas for domestic and transport uses.”