ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has launched a $50m research and development fund utilisation roadmap for the oil and gas sector of the country.
Sylva said the research and development fund being facilitated by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) would aid the research and development in the industry.
The minister spoke on Thursday during the second edition of NCDMB’s Research and Development Fair and Conference at the Nigerian Content Tower, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, he said the launch was part of the board’s 10-year research and development roadmap.
He said the launch of the fund was timely as it captured the Federal Government’s collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and project the oil and gas sector on the path of integrated energy sector.
According to him, the key development and production submission are sourced through local probabilities.
Sylva said: “In 2019, private sector practitioners with ICT in electronic equipment sector, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, automobiles and component sector cumulatively spent over $528b on research and development, representing 22% of the $2.6 trillion of global spending on research and development.
“The essence of this data analysis is to reinforce the importance of our local services companies to embrace research and development as key component of the business model.
“It is my expectation that this research and development fund will provide the needed stimulus for the oil and gas sector. With a capital of $50 million, the fund is designed for the establishment of research centres of excellence, support for applied research and others. That is we are imploring the private sectors to complement the NCDMB research and development fund by actively supporting the government’s drive.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote, said research and development is pivotal in the growth and development of any nation, especially in the oil and gas sector because it leads to industrial revolution.
Wabote stated: “It is time to start to nurture the growth of our home grown technology rather than just being a wholesome consumer of other people’s innovation.
“We are focused on research and development as one of the six parameters which are essential for sustainable development. The Research and Development Fund is in fulfilment of the NCDMB’s mandate to achieve the target of 70% Nigerian Content by 2027 and research and development is one of the key parameters required for sustainable local content practice.”
On his part, Bayelsa State Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo appreciated the NCDMB for the various infrastructures and projects sited in the state ranging from gas turbine to gas cylinder manufacturing and ship industry that will be at Brass.
He, however, said the Bayelsa State government and the Niger Delta region still felt unsatisfied with some things happening in the oil industry.
Ewhrudjakpo said: “Bayelsa State government still feels very shortchanged in terms of what we are getting despite the efforts we have made to ensure there is peace and tranquility in the industry.
“We believe that the relocation to Bayelsa State of the international oil companies (IOCs) should not be further delayed. This is a pronouncement by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo about four years ago. We believe that the manifestation of this is necessary at this stage especially now everybody is beginning to think inwards.
“We think it is unfair for the IOCs to come to Bayelsa to do their job yet be paying income tax in Lagos.”