By Emmanuel Elebeke
In a bid to attract foreign investments to the new Methanol Fuel Production Technology, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has carried the campaign across the Atlantic.
Speaking on “Africa’s employment Perspective Towards 2040” at German Development Institute on Tuesday in Bonn, Germany, Dr. Onu said Nigeria wants both local and foreign entrepreneurs and investors in the private sector to invest in methanol production in the country.
Citing the new investment-friendly visa policy and significant improvement in the ease of doing business as incentives to foreign investors, saying that Nigeria is the new destination for investments, and appealed to investors to invest in Africa.
“Nigerian businessmen and women are showing keen interest in investing in this project, therefore all prospective investors coming into the country will have willing partners to do business with”.
According to Dr. Onu, the Methanol Fuel Production Technology was a strategy employed by the Nigerian government to diversify its economy based on natural gas reserves, thus reducing the country’s reliance on crude oil reserves.
Dr. Onu said that since the world has reduced its reliance on crude oil and emphasis is now being made on cleaner and renewable energy, this policy is important for Nigeria to remain relevant in exporting natural gas.
Nigeria, according to Dr. Onu, has the ninth largest natural gas reserves in the world which is estimated to be over 200 trillion standard cubic feet.
The new national policy on Methanol Fuel Production Technology, he explained, is to provide the enabling policy framework for value-addition to our natural gas resources, increase in midstream gas investment and expansion of chemical industries value-chain.
According to Dr. Onu, the effective implementation of the new policy will improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
“It will help create new jobs for both the young and the old as well as create wealth for both individuals and the nation while still protecting the environment.
“Methanol can be blended with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that is petrol fifteen percent (15%), methanol eighty-five percent (85%) can be used in all vehicles without requiring any significant modification, while the end result is a cleaner and cheaper fuel with higher performance. He added that Methanol can be used to replace diesel in the generation for electricity production,’’ he added.
The minister stressed the need for African countries to increase investment in research and development, science education technology and innovation in order to reap maximum benefits from the new international economic order characterized by oil price volatility, globalization, climate change and new technologies.
For him, the way to go is for African countries to adopt a knowledge and innovation- driven economy through massive public and private investments in research and development.