Effective regulation needed for CNG conversion workshops- automotive council

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By Okeoghene Akubuike

The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), says there is a need for proper regulation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) conversion to provide safe CNG vehicles.

Joseph Osanipin, the Director-General, NADDC, said this at a Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Accreditation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Powered Vehicle Conversion Workshops in Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

Osanipin, represented by Dr Fidelis Achiv, the Director, Research, Design and Development, NADDC, said according to Autogas Africa, there are over 120 CNG conversion centres with 466 skilled technicians operating across the country.

He said these workshops had a capacity to convert a minimum of two petrol vehicles to CNG per day, indicating that CNG conversion was increasingly gaining acceptance and the market was expanding in the country.

“These CNG conversion centres are unregulated, which raises safety concerns on the standards and code of practice used in the conversion.

” The market expansion, safety concerns and unregulated conversion centres have necessitated the council to roll out programmes to standardise CNG conversion centres.

“Also to upgrade skills development through training of auto technicians on conversion, repair and maintenance of CNG vehicles.

“The workshop aims to enlighten stakeholders on the developed council’s guidelines and requirements for the accreditation and certification of all workshops that are interested in undertaking CNG conversion.”

Osanipin said the accreditation and certification would ensure that workshops operated in compliance with workplace best practices and standards.

“The guidelines and expression of interest form will be available online through the council’s website, therefore, it is required that all CNG workshops should apply for the accreditation and certification,” he said.

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Achiv, who spoke on the sidelines, said the council was ensuring compliance by the CNG conversion workshops.

“We are going to go round the workshops to ensure the minimum requirements are met and for those who do not meet the requirement we will not accredit their workshop for conversion.

“If on their own they go ahead to do any conversion, the conversion will not be reckoned with and when they go to get CNG gas in any station they will not be served.

“After the conversion, they are going to be given a QR code which will go with every vehicle they have converted. It is that QR code that will be used to serve them gas in the gas stations.

“So if they do not meet the minimum requirement, they will not be served at the stations.”

He said a workshop was expected to have four personnel which include a mechanic, welder, auto electrician and an ICT personnel before it could be accredited.

Achiv said the council proposed a registration fee of N250,000 to be paid by the CNG converters, saying this would wade off converters who would want to circumvent the conversion process.

Zayganu Tobo, the Programme Coordinator, Regulatory Compliance and Facilitation, Presidential CNG Initiative (PCNGI) said the initiative was a bold and decisive programme that was strategic and realisable

“By 2027, we anticipate one million vehicles running on CNG. We hope in four to five years, we will have 11,000 different CNG platforms and infrastructure.

“We anticipate 25,000 technicians and allied professionals will be trained and three billion dollars of investment with multiple effects on our economy will be realised in four to five years.”

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Tobo said a CNG app would be inaugurated to help people identify CNG infrastructure, and conversion centres closest to them.

Chukwunonso Okeke, the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), said SON had 82 standards that guide the standards of CNG conversion in Nigeria.

Okeke, represented by Ega Ijachi, the Group Head, Mechanical and LPG, said the standards had been achieved by working with different stakeholders.

“Out of the 82 standards, 28 are strictly on the conversion kits and these standards state the safety requirements of these kits. For example, the cylinders have to go through 18 tests before they can be used.

“CNG is safe for use, and SON is poised to ensure quality assurance of the kits used for the conversion, he said.

Ramalan Yerima, the Assistant Corps Marshal, Corps Safety Engineering Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said the corps’ role was to enforce the standards and enforce the usage of CNG when the time comes.

Yerima said the FRSC would continue to work with SON to ensure standards of CNG conversion were met.

Mr Simon Agenyi, the Director, Procurement, Federal Ministry of Finance, encouraged all participants to support NADDC in ensuring the CNG conversion becomes a reality.

Agenyi, Represented by Adigwe Ebube, Chief Procurement Officer, said the conversion to CNG would improve the welfare and lives of Nigerians as he pledged the ministry’s support to the mission. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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