The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), has expressed confidence in the capacity of Nigerian engineers to build refineries in the country.
Jonah said this when he received a delegation of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), who paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Yenagoa.
He said that building refineries and producing equipment and components in the country would go a long way to boost the local content and manpower base.
He emphasised the need to discourage reliance on foreign equipment and materials for the country’s industrial needs and services.
According to him, allowing Nigerian engineers to handle refineries and other industrial requirements will increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and stimulate the economy.
He said he was delighted by the association’s determination to ensure the commencement of manufacturing in-country.
Jonah also challenged the association to champion the advocacy for safe environment, stressing that Nigerian waters especially, were not safe due to massive pollution.
“We can get things right when we start thinking inwards, and start producing things for ourselves.
“I agree with you that Nigeria, today, has the capacity to provide local refineries. If you produce equipment locally, the amount that you spend increases your GDP.
“If you procure outside the country, you are adding to the GDP of other countries.
“There are several advantages in producing things locally. That’s the only way we can develop ourselves; that is the only way we can create opportunities for the young ones,’’ Jonah said.
Earlier in his remarks, Prof. Sunday Adefila, the National President of the society, had said that the courtesy visit was part of the activities of the Annual General Meeting/Conference scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Port Harcourt.
He said that The meeting would be hosted by the Rivers/Bayelsa branches of the body.
He explained that chemical engineers were essentially process engineers at the centre of the construction of refineries and related facilities, using indices of environment, economic, energy and improved quality as major planks of consideration for such ventures.
Adefila, who described Bayelsa as the seat of Nigeria’s local content, given the large oil and gas deposits in the state’s environment, said “NSChE can, and is able to do Nigerian refineries.
He added that members of the society were ready to be worthy stakeholders and were also available to be used for worthwhile partnerships with the state government.