A bill seeking for the establishment of a body that would be responsible for the broad function of generating and catalysing industrialisation has scaled through the first reading in Nigeria’s upper legislative house.
The bill, if enacted, would also carry out industrial research from the laboratory stage to the pilot plant stage.
Sir Frank Chukwuma Ibezim, Senator, representing Imo North, who sponsored the bill, entitled: Project Development Agency Bill (SB. 1097), urged his colleagues in the hallowed Red Chamber to pass the bill, as the proposed agency would also render consultancy services to governments, industries and individuals.
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The bill equally seeks to give legislative backing to the agency that had existed since the past four decades.
Leading the debate, Ibezim stated that the Project Development Agency Bill, when enacted into law, would have the mandate to among others:
*conduct research in engineering machinery and equipment, industrial materials and processes to pilot plant stages, including engineering design, development and fabrication, and in particular to conduct research into materials science and technology including metallurgy, foundry work, plastics and synthetic fibres;
*processing of ceramic materials and other solid based minerals for industrial use, including development of ceramics, glass and mineral technologies;
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*processing of agro produce into various bye-products through development of appropriate technology and machinery requirements;
*carry out mechanical engineering including engineering design, fabrication, machining and other processes;
*carry out coal conversion and utilisation;
*carry out chemical plant development;
*carry out electrical and electronic elements particularly electrical generators, motors, transformers, switchgear, batteries and other equipment;
*undertake economic evaluation of research results to establish their viability in micro, small, medium and large enterprises development;
*carry out training in specialized technical areas and award proficiency certificates;
*establish a specially advanced technology center with a post-graduate degree awarding curriculum in science and technology in collaboration with an accredited University;
*carry out technical, analytical and consultancy services for existing and planned industries; and
*handle any other related matter as may be determined by the Minister or President.
According to the distinguished senator, it is expedient to provide the needed legislative framework for the agency, taking into cognizance that it had existed for the past 43 years.
Ibezim further argued that considering also the developments in the industry and policy thrust of government, passing the bill into law would enable the agency to operate optimally, as it would have been armed with a robust legal framework that would strengthen and reposition it to effectively to discharge its statutory responsibilities.