The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has called for more investment from the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to invest in Bitumen, in order to meet local demand and increase the country’s volume of export.
Dr. Onu made the call for more bitumen investment, when he declared open the 10th International Conference Series of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBBRI) on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to the Minister, Nigeria has an estimated 42 billion barrels of Bitumen reserves, adding that a whopping 43 industrial chemicals including heavy crude petroleum can be obtained from bitumen.
Dr. Onu said “With reduction in foreign exchange earnings for the country, due to the drop in price of crude oil in the international market, there is need to find alternative sources of bitumen as well as encourage the use of concrete in road construction”.
He further hailed the strides achieved by the Institute, in carrying out qualitative research to improve the quality of infrastructure.
He said “I am happy that NBBRI has already carried out research and development efforts towards achieving fully paved roads using locally sourced bitumen. Though the trials are ongoing, the interim results are promising as bitumen samples collected locally are suitable for road construction based on comparison with international standards”.
On improving socio-economic fortunes of Nigerians, Dr. Onu said “I am happy that NBRRI through its research and innovation is working very hard to save foreign exchange earnings and encourage job creation, through the use of locally available raw materials”.
Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan said the theme of the conference was apt, especially at a time of growing global concerns on the issue of circular economy, resource utilisation and smart cities development.
He urged participants at the conference to give in their all in regards to research and development outputs and results.
Also in a goodwill message, the Senate Committee Chairperson on Science and Technology, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, said that joint and concentrated efforts of critical stakeholders in the construction industry, will further propel the nation’s GDP.
She called for more participation from the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in developing and commercialising research findings of the Institute.
FOR: Deputy Director/ Head Press and PR.