BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Federal Government has recorded a breakthrough in Research and Development (R&D) with the unveiling of Gas Leak Detection Device and Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Facility at Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja.
Initiated by Amal Technologies Limited, the project was supported by the immediate past Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, who spearheaded the R&D roadmap as a key component in the development of oil and gas industry.
Commissioning the project on Thursday, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri described it as a significant landmark in the nation’s quest to promote a research culture through the nurturing of innovation-driven startup companies.
He said that the project represented a breakthrough in local manufacturing of electronic circuitry and devices.
Represented by the Director of Upstream in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Engr. Kamoru Busari, he noted that Amal technologies is one of the companies that benefitted from the NCDMB’s research and innovation intervention.
The minister informed that the innovation adopted Internet of Things (IOT) technology to introduce a device that generates a Short Message System (SMS) and calls on the phone of homeowners incase of gas leak.
He noted that the deployment of gas leak detection device provided a significant safety tool that would accelerate the adoption of gas as a preferred source of energy for homes, transportation and industry.
Lokpobiri pointed out that the job creation potential of Amal technologies is critical to circular economy blueprint and aligns with Mr. President’s eight-point agenda for economic recovery.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Felix Ogbe stated that the proposal for research into smart gas leak detector research was submitted to the board in 2018.
He hinted that the idea was nurtured and hosted through the NCDMB Technology Innovation and Incubation Center (TIIC).
Ogbe stated that the recurring menace of gas leaks and explosions leading to heavy loss in human lives, property, and environmental pollution would be addressed with the device.
“Nigeria’s development priorities were trending towards gas-based industrialisation with an exponential increase in gas utilization, hence it had become compelling to deploy safety and preventive tools such as the Amal smart gas leak detection to ensure the safety of lives and properties as the citizens embrace gas usage,” he said.
He disclosed that electronics accounted for the largest online spending in Nigeria in 2022, adding that Amal technology facility would provide the springboard for the replacement of imported PCBs with locally produced PCBs.
This, he believed would be achieved in line with the board’s vision to be a catalyst for industrialisation of the Nigerian economy and its linkage sectors.
Ogbe stated that the facility would also create employment opportunities, pay taxes and provide a critical platform for instrumentation and electronics-related research and development.
On why the board invested in Amal technologies, he explained that NCDMB had developed a strategic roadmap and focused on the establishment of dedicated funds to support research through the inauguration of the Nigerian Content Research Council & Technical Advisory Board, and establishment of research centers of excellence.
He noted that the need to focus on commercialisation of research was amplified in the NCDMB Technology Innovation and Incubation policy, which led to the creation of TIIC that is domiciled in the Nigerian Content Towers Yenagoa.
The Chief Executive Officer of Amal Technologies, Mr. Shehu Abdullahi recalled that NCDMB accepted to support the project without having any prior relationship with the management team.
“NCDMB is not about having connections or knowing someone at the top. It is about a team of people that are dedicated to the success and progress of local content in Nigeria. Their firmness and dedication to local content continues to give me hope for Nigeria,” he added.
Abdullahi said that Amal technologies had in three years, secured two patents and disrupted traditional approaches to research and development, expressing hope that with the full support of NCDMB, his company would make lasting contributions to various sectors of the economy.
He maintained that the facility has the capacity to produce over two million Advanced Smart Electric Meters, which he said would be a significant contribution to the Federal Government’s National Mass Metering Program (NMMP).
The CEO noted that the initiative aligned with the company’s commitment to address the current challenges in metering and support the government’s efforts for a reliable and efficient power supply.
He stated that the facility holds immense potential to other sectors, including automobile manufacturing, medical advancements, telecommunications and agriculture.
The Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB, Alhalji Abdulmalik Halilu said that the board subjected the innovation to a detailed regulatory processes and proof-of-concept checks before deciding to take equity in the project.
He hinted that the facility has the potential to create over 400 jobs from the conception to production stages, with an annual turnover of N9.3 billion.
Halilu confirmed that the project’s structure is sustainable and consistent, assuring that the board will soon unvei similar innovations that it had incubated.
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja