The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said Nigeria can create over 40 million new jobs through methanol fuel production technology.
Speaking at a sensitization road show on the technology today (August 24) in Abuja, he said a methanol-driven economy is beneficial in job creation, technology development and domestication, electricity generation, clean household energy services, stoppage of gas flaring and achieving environmental sustainability.
He said the essence of the sensitization exercise was to make Nigerians understand the enormous benefits of introducing methanol fuel in the country, pointing out that we allowed our economy to rely mostly on commodities and failed to add value to the natural resources thereby limiting the nation’s sources of revenue.
“For too long, Nigeria allowed her economy to rely mostly on commodities. Initially, it was agricultural products. Later, it became crude oil and gas. We did not add value to these natural resources thereby limiting our source of revenue. Undoubtedly, this adversely affected job creation,” he said.
He maintained it was time for the nation to prepare for a post crude oil era by strengthening the nation’s revenue base in response to the current trend in the world.
“This explains why we must adopt a different approach in the development of methanol fuel technology policy. God blessed us with abundant natural resources. We exploited them in their raw state and never added value. This reduced revenue generation, stagnated job creation and aggravated poverty in the country and weakened both our currency and the economy. Hence, we exported cocoa but imported chocolate. We exported groundnuts but imported peanut butter, we exported wood but imported toothpicks. We exported crude oil but imported petroleum products,” he stated.
Onu said on the other hand, however, methanol that finds use and application in more than a thousand products involves value addition, where methane in the natural gas is converted into a new very useful chemical methanol.
His ministry, he said, was determined to ensure that the limitations the nation suffered in the exploitation of crude oil, where it failed to domesticate the technology did not happen with methanol.
He spoke of his ministry’s interest in domesticating methanol technology in the country such that in the future, our scientists and engineers, in line with Presidential Executive Order No. 5, would develop entrepreneurs and businesses that could compete with the best in the world.
“The sole aim of the FMSTI is to utilize Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as a catalyst to achieve sustainable economic development. Innovation is the heart of our ability to find solutions that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable,” he added.
Onu further extended a hand of partnership to entrepreneurs and investors in the private sector to invest in methanol production in the country based on science, technology and innovation.
Earlier, the director of environmental science technology in the ministry, Dr. Peter Ekweozor, said strategies had been put in place to source for funding to boost the methanol fuel technology value chain.
He said the technology would boost Nigeria’s socio-economic fortunes, assuring that the methanol value chain programme would diversify and sustain the economy.