Organised Labour has said often and again that the bone it has to pick with the Federal Government has more to do with the cost of food than with the scaling of wages. This, it explains, is because since the Federal Government struck off subsidy on petrol on May 29 last year, the price of the fuel has shot up three-fold, catapulting food prices way above the heads of the average compatriot, thus eliminating the home advantage in take-home wages and replacing it with want and despair.

As the President Bola Tinubu administration approaches its first anniversary a month from now, Labour and the whole body of Nigerians would be waiting for government to give a reckoning on its efforts and outcomes at lowering transport costs and the impact on the cost of food.

Both the Federal Government and Labour have attested that the adoption of Compressed Natural Gas-powered vehicles offers a cheaper route to transporting man and material.

Labour has complained over the months, however, that on this matter, government is displaying more talk than walk, adding that there has been more than ample time for implementation and impact.

While petrol costs about N620 per litre and diesel, about N950 per litre, CNG costs N213 per scm (standard cubic meter). Compared to diesel or PMS, the price of CNG for the different vehicles is approximately 35 per cent of the current prices.

CNG is further said to offer much better fuel efficiency and in addition to that, CNG-propelled vehicles often come with a petrol-CNG combination, allowing the vehicle to run on both petrol and CNG.

Compressed natural gas emits far less carbon, compared to traditional fossil fuels. It has limited flammability, making accidental combustion less likely. Vehicles using CNG also incur lower maintenance costs.

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Currently, about 40,000 trucks flood Nigeria’s roads and cities, but only about 25,000 trucks are required for haulage business, experts say.

Analysts say that food prices would begin to trend noticeably downwards when up to 25 per cent of haulage trucks in the country are CNG-powered and that the downward progression would follow incrementally as the volume grows, reducing the burden of high food costs on the wallets of teeming Nigerians, then freeing up disposable income for other pressing needs.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has recently been beating its chest about its readiness to launch about 2,700 CNG-powered buses and tricycles into the country’s transport system before May 29. This is coming two short months after Organised Labour berated government for foot-dragging on the matter.

The Federal Government further says it is set to deliver 100 CNG conversion workshops and 60 refuelling sites spread across 18 states before the end of 2024.

The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, made the claim in a recent statement titled ‘Presidential CNG initiative set for rollout’.

Onanuga said that from the end of May, Nigeria will “take some baby steps” to join such nations that already have large fleets of CNG vehicles.

Nigerians are waiting to see government deliver on this promise, to see the impact it will make on their convenience and bottom lines, and to see how they will progress thereafter, as well as how partners in progress, Organised Labour, will score them.