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Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu, looks on in Abuja on March 1, 2023 during celebrations at his campaign headquarters. - Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu won Nigeria's highly disputed weekend election, electoral authorities said on Wednesday, securing the former Lagos governor the presidency of Africa's most populous democracy. With President Muhammadu Buhari stepping down after two terms, many Nigerians hoped Saturday's vote would usher in a leader capable of tackling the country's widening insecurity, economic malaise and growing poverty. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

FG Sets To Include Innoson Brand in N100bn CNG Buses Presidential Initiative

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The Federal Government has assured that it would avoid the non-inclusion of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd (IVM) in the award of contracts for the production of buses as part of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative.

This is as Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman, Innoson Group, has commended President Bola Tinubu for the CNG Initiative following the removal of petrol subsidy.

Mr. Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), gave the assurance over the weekend during a tour of the existing IVM factory complex in Nnewi, Anambra State and the multi-billion new IVM plant to be opened soon with an installed capacity to manufacture 30,000 CNG vehicles annually.

The minister described the non-inclusion as a “yesterday occurrence,” and encouraged Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman, IVM to continue to provide jobs to the teeming qualified people through his factories.

Stakeholders and the public had criticised the Federal Government for not including Innoson Motors in the initial contracts when the names of the auto companies tasked with the supply of the CNG buses were made public.

Innoson Motors had pioneered the manufacture of autogas vehicles, including buses of varied capacities, about two years ago, even before the coming onboard of this present administration.

He said: “Today is a different day. I can assure you that we will make a move towards making amends from what has happened yesterday to make our person (referring to Dr. Innocent Chukwuma), proud of where he comes from, and that he is from Nigeria.”

Besides, Ekpo expressed delight with Chukwuma for investing keenly in the manufacture of CNG vehicles and aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to using the CNG Initiative to dampen the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on the masses.

He said the massive production of vehicles that run on CNG by Innoson was giving a boost to the transition from petrol and diesel to gas.

Ekpo also remarked that manufacturing activities at IVM were in line with the aspirations of Mr. President, stressing that the president would be delighted at the growth and expansion of the company.

He reiterated that the plan of Tinubu for the use of CNG was to cut cost in the spending model of government and creating a greenhouse economy.

“The Chairman took me to observe the exhaust pipe and when I saw it, it was very clean and nothing came out of it, and it was in the condition that we will really appreciate. So, I am really happy to see what I am seeing at Innoson. And I give him kudos for identifying with the President as he did this morning with his comment on moving “from gas to prosperity.

By the special grace of God, we have a son of Nigeria who is making Nigeria proud in CNG vehicle production. When I return to Abuja, I will brief the president on what I have seen and what I have experienced. It is left for the President to take a decision on the direction to go.

“There is a presidential committee on CNG. I will equally collaborate and sit down with them and talk about the issue, because we are looking at how to cut costs, reduce expenses which will add value to our country, Nigeria. So CNG vehicles should be patronised from all angles and I believe the President will support such aspirations,” he added.

In his reaction, Chukwuma echoed his belief that the exclusion from the contract awards for the CNG buses by the Presidential Committee should be regarded as a thing of the past and a mistake, while expecting a fairer process in the future.

He expressed that may be the committee was not aware the extent IVM had gone in manufacturing CNG vehicles since 2022, but stressed that the committee was now more informed about the company’s activities.

He added: “But, it is not compulsory that they will use IVM to start the implementation of the CNG Initiative. They can use anybody’s brand to start. But, they will later understand the true position of things as time goes on. We are all working together to move the nation forward.”

The Innoson Chairman also commended Tinubu for the CNG Initiative following the removal of petrol subsidy.

He further lauded the president for directing government ministries and agencies to key in into the momentum for Nigerians to follow suit

He said: “We have confidence in President Tinubu because he knows how to handle any situation. He is an expert and he showed it in Lagos State as a governor. So, we still believe he will do it with Nigeria.

“All these things we are doing here are part of our efforts to support him, so that the government can be able to make Nigeria great. With all these things we are doing and everybody’s support, the president will surely make Nigeria great. I am building this new CNG factory now and the President is expected to commission it very soon.”

One of the highlights of the minister’s tour was the demonstration of the fire-fightingchafacyetistucs of IVM fire trucks, and a segment-by-segment display of a wide range of IVM vehicles.