…Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) elaborates on the benefits of manufacturing bitumen locally for job creation among others
The Federal Government has approved local fabrication of bitumen and other construction materials that are being imported currently for construction of roads across the country.
It also called on the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and Mines and Steel to initiate policies capable of improving, encouraging and boosting local production.
The ratifications of the government at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Thursday was pivotal to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The memo, which was devised from an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, who had demanded a review about the sources of the main materials in Road Construction and the prospect of manufacturing them locally, will enhance employment opportunities and preserve foreign exchange.
In the Policy Memorandum titled “Approval For The Local Production Of Bitumen And Other Construction Materials In Nigeria”, Fashola, who drew the attention of Council to the fact that bitumen and other major road construction components were currently being imported, presented that when produced locally bitumen was expected to be sold at about N125, 000 per metric tonne, which, according to him, is 48. 8 percent of the cost of the imported one which stands at N285, 000.
According to him, in the aspect of job creation, producing bitumen locally would definitely reducing the cost of road construction and also provide no fewer than 30, 000 jobs for the unemployed in the country.
The Minister also explained at the Council that the Policy Memo which was intended to encourage local production of bitumen as a component of road construction, was an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the President has accordingly tasked the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company to align with the policy by partnering with related governmental institutions to realise the goal.
He described the production as, “a low grade crude oil which is either extracted from the ground or gotten as a by-product of refined crude oil.”
While speaking on its abundance, the former Governor of Lagos State affirmed that the country has an estimated 38 billion barrels of reserve and extra heavy oils that have lied fallow for years across the nation especially in Ondo, Lagos and Edo States.
The Minister listed some of the benefits derivable from the local production of bitumen and other construction materials, which include the diversification of the nation’s economy, improvement in technological growth, establishment of projects crucial vital for international cooperation in the new intensifying technology and socio-economic influence on the areas of operation, among others.
According to him, local production would also aid sustaining quality control on production through the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and allied Consumer Protection Agencies to safeguard that the right quality of bitumen is produced for optimal utilisation by the construction companies while also ensuring further diversification of the nation’s economy.