Rasheed Bisiriyu and ’Femi Asu
The United Kingdom said on Monday that it would ban the sale of petrol/diesel and hybrid cars from 2035, five years earlier than planned, a move that has been described as posing risks for Nigeria.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, exports crude oil to the UK, one of the major buyers in Europe, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The UK government said, subject to consultation, it would end the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans in 2035, or earlier if a faster transition was possible.
There are also indications that Nigeria will receive its first set of electric cars next year with two firms already working on the project.
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Tuesday unveiled the new auto policy as part of a launch event for a United Nations climate summit in November, according to the BBC.
The odds are against fosil fuelled-cars as the world is doing everything to combat effects of climate change.
A Nigerian company, Sun Energy Community Development Initiative, said that it was intensifying efforts on assembling solar-powered cars.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Moses Onaja, during an exhibition of solar products in Ibadan, said that the vehicles would be unveiled this year.
A proprietor of a major auto assembler, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also hinted of the plans by his firm to bring in electric vehicles next year.
Onaja was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying, “What we want to do now is to start assembling solar cars in Nigeria.
“By the special grace of God, we want to see how we can work with the government to ensure that. We are hoping that in 2020 we should have the assembly point here.”
The other auto player also said, “We have commenced discussions with our foreign partners to start selling electric vehicles in Nigeria next year.”
Reacting to the situation, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, told one of our correspondents that the UK’s new 2035 target had put a long-term limit on the future of crude and its uses.
Oyebanji, who is the managing director/chief executive officer of 11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc), said, “I expect many other countries to follow suit.
“Nigeria has to diversify its economy away from crude oil. This is the time to do it. Unfortunately, we are borrowing so much money, which we have to pay back.”
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, said the UK’s decision to bring forward the ban on the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles “has serious implications for Nigeria.”