President, National Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Dr. John Erinne,
called for a media parley recently, one thing was clear. He meant to intensify
calls on the Federal Government to reverse the de-industrialisation of the
country as well as boost the nation’s petrochemical sector.
Erinne, “cognisant of the fact that no nation can truly develop without a robust
infrastructural and industrial/manufacturing base, there is a need to re-focus
attention on the creative role of chemical engineering in these areas.”
The NSChE, as a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE),
seeks to promote the practice of chemical engineering for national development
and to enhance the usefulness of the profession to the public and to cater for
the interest of chemical engineers in Nigeria.
He said, “current efforts
to reform the power sector and improve electricity supply should be sustained,
if the de-industrialisation of Nigeria is to be halted.” Next to power, he
listed high cost and access to funds as difficulties believed to be the highest
impediments to manufacturing.
He therefore said urgent reforms to make
funding more readily accessible and at reasonable cost to industrialists is
called for, adding that import tariffs, which disadvantage local
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said efforts to develop local raw materials should be reinvigorated and accorded
greater priority as well as investment promotion and targeted intervention in
key sectors like sugar, cassava, pulp/paper and solvent sectors.
Speaking on the role of chemical engineers, he said it cannot be
over-emphasised, as it is perceived as almost unanimous with the oil and gas
industry in Nigeria. “Chemical engineering is indeed a prime driver in the
Chemical Process Industry Sector, which is essentially involved in processing
and conversion of many primary materials (agricultural,sts135 research
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blends. mineral, chemical) into vitally required intermediate and end products
(e.g. cement, paper, sugar, flour, fertilisers, soaps/detergents, starch,
paints, vegetable oils, beverages and solvents amongst others).
also involved in provision of public infrastructure in such areas as water
supply, waste disposal, energy conversion systems and environmental protection.
Therefore as a spin off from our Vision 2020, we are indeed strongly focused on
positioning the society and our profession to contribute maximally towards the
advancement of Nigeria and to sustain the position of chemical engineering as
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Erinne said efforts are being made to extend the society’s hands of
fellowship internationally. Accordingly, he said relationship has been
established with the National Organisation for Professional Advancement of Black
Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) of USA. Similar relationships, he
added, are being discussed with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
(AIChE) and the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE). “It is
indeed hoped that relationship with AIChE will ultimately lead to an African
Chemical Engineering Forum.”
On the key policy positions of the society,
he listed the downstream oil and gas sector as one of the areas the government
should divest majority shareholding in the three existing Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to
competent private sector investors with strong technical and financial
capabilities and proven track record in petroleum refining, in order to
meaningfully restore them to an acceptable performance level.
advocated that the proposed 350,000 bbls/day refinery in Lekki, Lagos, should be
implemented as a matter of urgency in order to ensure adequate refining capacity
to meet growing demand for petroleum products in the country. The other proposed
refineries for Bayelsa and Kogi should also be explored subsequently, he added.
If these stringent measures are taken, he said Nigeria indeed has the
potentials of becoming a regional Petroleum Refining hub in West Africa and a
net exporter of petroleum products in the next seven years with consistent
commitment to these remedial measures. He further advocated that the Pipelines
and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), the Strategic Business Unit (SBU) of NNPC
responsible for the network of pipelines and infrastructure for supply of crude
oil to the refineries and distribution of petroleum products nationwide, should
be excised from NNPC.
No Nation Develops Without Robust Infrastructural