Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, has said the era of importation of certain professionals and equipment required in the oil and gas sector will soon be a thing of the past.
The minister, who said this in an interview with journalists, shortly after a tour of Lee Engineering and Construction Company’s new factory in Warri, said he was confidence in the ability of local investors to match their counterparts abroad.
An impressed minister, after a fact-finding tour of the oil and gas engineering company, said most of the equipment, after the commissioning of the factory next year, would be locally manufactured at the factory, thereby saving Nigeria millions of dollars in foreign exchange.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to get 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years. He pointed out that one of the ways this could be achieved was by encouraging industrialists to create new industries, and to expand the ones they have to enable them employ more people.
Adebayo, said by the time the factory would be completed next year, the nature of its specialisation would create a situation where the country won’t have to import any more, and that even people abroad can come and buy from here.
“The equipment that are made here are to facilitate the production of crude oil and gas, a lot of the equipment being made here at present are being imported from abroad. By the time this factory is completed a lot of the things that we import will not need to be imported anymore, they will be locally manufactured here at Lee Engineering.
“I have seen some of their equipment; and they’re still expecting more. As you’re aware, the factory is not completed, I just came to see how far they have gone, and to see what to anticipate.
“Like I said, we’re interested in Nigerians being employed and from what I can see right now, even though the equipment are not all here yet, they’ve already sent young Nigerians abroad for training, and they still intend to send more, so this is something we’re very happy about,” the minister said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Lee Engineering, Chief Leemon Ikpea, who conducted Adebayo round the factory, disclosed that, by May next year, President Muhammadu Buhari would be in Warri to inaugurate the factory.
He said, when completed, equipment like high pressure vessels, heat exchangers, and some of the skills in the oil and gas industry would no longer be imported.
Ikpea said: “We are about 85 per cent in completion; one or two items are still remaining, we just got. We have just gone for the factory acceptance text in Europe, and by February 2020, the place will be fully completed. We will then do the text run, and after that we now invite our president to come and commission the factory.”