The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), in collaboration with ANNOGASCO Ventures Limited, organized a National Conference on the Development of Raw Materials for Sustainable Power and Energy Supply in Nigeria. The Conference, which held at the Headquarters of (RMRDC), Maitama, Abuja from 9th – 11th October, 2012, had the theme “Enhancing Local Content in Power and Energy Sector for Sustainable Development”.
The opening ceremony was chaired by the President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Mustafa Balarabe Shehu, ably represented by the Vice President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. A. A. Rabiu. The Special Guest of Honour was the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, represented by the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Engr. (Prof.) A. P. Onwualu. Other dignitaries included the Honourable Minister of State for Power, Darius Ushaku, represented by the Executive Director, Operations, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN), Engr. Kingsley Achife, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, represented by Engr. T. S. G. Wudil, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms. Evelyn Oputu, represented by the Project Manager, (BOI), Mr. Segun Adaju, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, Mr. James Olotu, represented by Engr. Nwachukwu, and Director, Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Engr. Tunde Zedomi. The keynote address was presented by the former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. O. A. Bamiro. Overall, 336 dignataries and participants from research institutions, the academia, government and industry attended the 3-day event.
Following elaborate discussions and deliberations in the various presentations, the following observations where made:
Nigeria is at the most basic stage of the industrial competitiveness index of a factor-driven economy, that is, one whose ability to compete is based on unskilled labour and natural resources.
The development of Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) capacity is sine-qua-non to the socio-economic development of our nation.
Economic globalisation has serious impact on the industrial development of any country, these impacts includes the concentration of wealth and power in hands of fewer companies and people, loss of jobs, unregulated global economy and brain drain.
No African country has reached the innovation-driven stage, that is, a stage based on an ability to compete with new and unique products, and the use of sophisticated production driven competition.
Innovation can take place outside the R & D system. Innovation is not necessarily a big science as it can utilize the technological knowledge already in the public domain. Engineering plays an important role in the innovation process.
Series of constructive destruction of technologies have taken place fuelled by the stiff global competition in the increasingly globalising world economy.
There is a low level of input by the metal fabrication industrial sector to the various industrial sectors, including the power sector, which is symptomatic of our rather weak capital goods industry.
That today, Nigeria has an estimated power installed capacity close to 7,000MW currently producing over 4,000MW for a population of about 160million and has remained a consuming nation in all areas of life such as agriculture, technology and human resources, which is highly unacceptable.
With all the vast natural resources that can provide for all the industrial sector of our economy, it is pertinent to note that we cannot convert these minerals to some useful means for the development of our economy more importantly power which is used as a Key performance index for the economy of any nation.
Nigeria have witnessed decay of power infrastructures owing to lack of funding of the power sector and maintenance of power equipment hardware in all the three major subs –sectors which are; Generation, Transmission and Distribution.
11. Owing to the fact that the Nigerian economy only supports trading (buying and selling) in commodities, this has made manufacturing of products locally to be unprofitable.
12. Foreign companies, eg. Indians, enjoy the support of their home states in business to grow.
13. Standardization improves production techniques, promotes fair trade practices and provides the best means of using goods and services for orderly approach to a specific activity.
14. Standardization enables the establishment of common units of measurement in communicating requirements, thus facilitating inter-changeability and eliminating technical barriers to trade.
15. The absence of standards in the power and energy sector has caused huge losses including lives and property, through the purchase of sub- standard transformers, cables, circuits, etc.
16. Quality management systems and efficient service delivery are critical to the sustenance of the Power and Energy sector.
17. Until recently, electricity supply was a matter of technical development and administration. Devoid of business development.
18. Some competition, especially on production and bulk sale level. Important for the technical development
19. Electricity supply has not been customer oriented. The consumers were subscribers and not customers
20. The establishment of industrial clusters creates an environment for local manufacturers to thrive collectively and to strategically position themselves within the region. Manufacturers are able to avert the high infrastructure costs and pool their resources together for increased benefit within the environment
21. The R&D of the power and energy sector of the economy of the country is witnessing a lot of frustration as the Nigerian Scientists and Engineers are not contributing to the Oil and Gas sector like their foreign counterparts.
22. The measures adopted by Government to tackle the myriad of challenges facing the Power and Energy sector are palliatives which are directed towards quick wins, hence the huge investments in the sector are usually without commensurate results.
23. The realiance on off-shore technology and the lack of a robust national policy remain the major challenges facing the sector.
24. Government emphasis on the maximazation of research and development in the Power and Energy sector will pay off in the long run as the nation would fall back on them in the future.
Consequent upon the above observations the following recommendations were made:
For sustainable Power and Energy supply, the key actors in the sector must operate a deliberate policy of linking to the capital goods sector for the development of key manufacturing skills to respond to its needs.
Reclaiming and building our local economies by working to create and sustain locally owned enterprises that sustainably harvest and process local resources to produce jobs, goods and services.
Knowledge is imperative as global or local competition places an ever greater premium on harnessing the energy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation (SETI) to drive economic progress.
In order to enhance the performance of this critical sector, there is a need for the adoption of the triple helix model involving government-industry-education and training system collaboration.
Government should scan the industrial sector, identify technological needs, and challenge R & D institutions to undertake necessary R & D for diffusion of solutions to the end users. This must be a deliberate policy.
We can move forward faster in the power industry development by constructing more transmission lines for redundancy, effective and efficient delivery of power. There is also need to have tools, spare parts and human resources development for adequate maintenance to be achieved.
Creation of enabling business-friendly environment to encourage local investment and attract Foreign Direct Investment in the local production of power generation components, and improvement in incentive regime to intending investors in the electricity industry.
Establishment of banks/financial institution to finance long-term investment at low lending rates comparable to NEXIM Bank.
Stimulation of development of large industries that support raw materials (producer goods) for the electricity sector such Iron and Steel as well as petrochemical base and also ensure that made in Nigeria products are not only accepted but globally competitive.
Government need to protect the local industry by the introduction of tariff.
There is need to ascertain the availability of raw materials for the sustainable development of the sector.
Government should facilitate the optimal functioning of the petrochemical plants in order to churn out products for power sector.
Attention should gradually move from the gigantic projects to smaller ones within the value chain of the sector.
There should be a deliberate policy on the part of Government to assist local manufacturers by taking the leading patronizing/enforcing the patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods.
Government should make available funds for stakeholders to draw from eg. Export promotion grants.
There is need for squergy of efforts amongst stakeholders in the sector.
Concerted efforts should be geared towards sustained advocacy in the evactuant of laws that support and or protect local manufacturers against their foreign counterparts.
Standards and quality should be regarded as extremely vital in our quest for technological and economic development and every effort should be made to adopt it for improved quality and safety in the Power and Energy sector.
The ISO 9001:2008 should provide generic standards with fundamental business requirements that represent best practices which will be a veritable tool for the Power and Energy industry in order to meet the challenges of global requirements and sustenance.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, (SON) should assist industries to become competitive and successful through its various standardization schemes and activities.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, (SON), should be ready to partner with relevant stakeholders in the Power and Energy sector to develop standards and codes for the sector.
Government takes decisions on electricity supply based upon political considerations more than pure economic calculations
There is the urgent need to revive the petrochemical industry and the Steel Rolling Mills by the Government. This will enable local sourcing of at least 60% to 75% of the raw materials needed by the local manufacturers for the manufacture of power and energy equipment and components.
Modern technical schools need to be set up to satisfy skilled manpower requirements by local manufacturers.
There is need for increased level of linkages and interactions between the nation’s higher institutions, Research and Development Agencies, and the local manufacturers.
Government should put in place initiatives that would make long term funding available at lower costs to local manufacturers. It should also consider providing guarantees to offshore suppliers so that manufacturers can make payments at reasonable time on imported components.
Government should support cost of providing in-house basic infrastructure by local manufacturers pending improvements on the nation’s basic infrastructure like power. This will help significantly to reduce cost of local manufacturing
The importance of linkages between the local manufacturers, R&D Institutions and Universities needs to be highlighted as a key opportunity for developing and fast tracking local manufacturing of energy and power equipment. Though linkages with other sectors of the economy, a well focused manufacturing sector can be stimulated to utilize technological advantages in the manufacturing of components
Government to urgently identify companies in the Electrical- Electronics sector that are still existing and manufacturing power equipment and components with a view to identifying their immediate needs and putting them back into operation again this can be done through MAN.
Develop structural that would assist these local manufacturers reduce cost of production e.g. compensation for providing in –house basic infrastructures that otherwise should have been provided by Government.
There should be deliberate efforts by government to support R&D in the Power and Energy sector
Government should set standards and specification of products in the sector and enforce them
There should be co-ordinated research and devlopment activities in Universities, research institutes and other institutions as they meet the needs of the industry.
R&D achievements by Research Institutes, Universities, etc, should be publicised and commercialized.
A compendium of potentially commercializable R&D results should be generated for data purposes.