The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has been prudent in managing the nation’s resources.
Kachikwu also stated that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that Nigerians enjoyed better opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
Speaking at the inauguration of state-of-the-art laboratories established by Laser Engineering Nigeria, an indigenous firm located in Rumudara in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, the minister stated that he was not given to frivolities, adding that he usually does not travel on chartered planes.
He maintained that the Federal Government was prepared to partner Nigerians intending to make landmark achievements in the oil sector.
Kachikwu added that the government would provide the necessary support towards ensuring that Nigerians were major players in the sector.
“The Federal Government is prudent in the management of our resources. For me, whatever is available when I am travelling, even if it is economy class, I will take my seat,” he said.
The minister, who spoke on the importance of research, added, “Research produces new dimensions to products and research development, and that makes the oil and gas industry work well.
“The fact is that I am very committed to seeing that a larger part of the opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector are enjoyed and indeed managed by Nigerians. It is my firm commitment that anybody doing something along that line has my buying.”
The minister pointed out that many Nigerian entrepreneurs making waves in engineering, drilling and other areas would be showcased when the ‘Project 100’ would be launched by the President.
Earlier, the Managing Consultant, Laser Engineering, Prof. Mike Onyekonwu, described the establishment of the laboratories as a modest contribution to the efforts of the government in setting up research institutes.
Onyekonwu explained that research remained the backbone of sustained growth in any industry and one of the ways of building capacity.
He said, “It is clear that no university can procure the research equipment needed for our research, because of poor funding of universities. Therefore, there must be private intervention in research and Laser has taken the challenge and invested.
“Research and development is the weakest link in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Without research, knowledge is limited and anything that is not properly understood will invariably be improperly managed.”
Onyekonwu acknowledged the contribution of his late wife, Augustina, to the success of the firm.