Nigeria: Reps seek end to importation of chemical products, move for legal backing

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WorldStage Newsonline–  Nigeria’s House of Representatives said it was employing legislative means to end the importation of chemical products, to develop local products for exports to other countries.

Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, represented by the Minority Leader, Rep  Peter Akpaterson, said this during the public hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology in Abuja on Wednesday.

The public hearing is on: a Bill for an Act to establish  National Institute for Chemical Techology, Zaria, Kaduna State.

This, according to the bill, will provide globally competitive and environmentally friendly innovative research in the processing and conversion of indigenous raw material into valuable chemicals.

The bill will also provide petrochemical products for the development of chemical, biological and man-made fibres technologies for industrial application in Nigeria.

The second bill is: a Bill for an Act to establish Chartered Institute of Digital Technology and Development of Nigeria.

Rep. Peter Akpaterson said without legislative backing, the institute might not achieve the laudable move, stressing that the 9th assembly would provide the requisite legal backing.

He said with the arrays of chemical deposits in the country, Nigeria still remained importer of chemical products, adding that importing chemical products into the country when it had abundance, would not augur well.

He said his local government was one of the richest in mineral deposits, while expressing worry that some specialised Institutes of research had not given value addition.

“You need to ensure that your institute does not end up like the many we have in the country.

“From my experience, it is clear to me that you know what you are doing and intend to change your methodology.

“Our attitude is a big issue, including bureaucracy where initiatives are frustrated by the challenges people face in bringing their products through.

Responding, Prof. Jeffery Barminas, the  Director General,  National Research Institute for Chemical and Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State, said chemical technology remained the bedrock of any development.

This, according to him, is through the different products that come from the chemical industry.

He said the development of chemical technology and industry was responsible for over 600 chemicals in the world, which underscored the importance of its growth to the nation.

He decried the importation of chemical into the country, saying such importation was not good for the development of the country.

According to him, the benefits of this bill will help in the investment of chemical technology in the country.

He cited bitumen with a reserve of over 72  billion deposit.

He said the importation of chemical products must stop, adding that if the bill sailed through, it would give the institute access to fund and knowledge.

He further said its development would better the lives of Nigeria, adding that the country, through chemical products, could get metals, pharmaceutical products, among others.

He said the bill was imperative to achieve sustainable excellence and meet global standard in chemical technology and development in chemicals, among others.

Mr Mej Bassey, Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of Science and Technology, called for appropriate law that would guide the citizenry in the sector.

He said there was need for the administration to invest around chemical, adding that investment in chemical products in the country was grossly below standard, considering the effect of chemical in the environment.

According to him, the time has come to speak about the usage and legal implication, moreso at a time of security issues about people with no knowledge of chemical with wrong products.

He said the law that should guide the holistic administration of chemical should be looked into.

Also, Rep. Beni Lar, the Chairman of the Committee, commended the sponsor of the bill, adding that it would help to fastract economic growth in the country.