Director General of the National Research Institute of Chemical Technology (NARICT) located in Zaria Kaduna State, Professor Jeffrey Barminas, revealed that in 2022, Nigeria spent more than $1.4 billion on importing chemical materials, even as it urged the federal government to stop this trend.

Prof Baminas unveiled this at the NARICT special day at the ongoing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) EXPO 2023 in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, with the theme “Update on effective diversification of the Nigerian economy to via STI”.

Professor Baminas added that imports are increasing due to the high demand for chemicals in different industries of the federation.

“With the few currencies that we have, we are still spending a whopping one point four billion dollars in the year 2022, that is huge, and I think it is still going to increase because worldwide, more than eight thousand products are produced chemicals worldwide, and those eight thousand chemicals find application in different industries. So it will always be on the rise,” he said.

The NARICT chief said the Nigerian government must tap its vast resources in chemical technology to produce different profiles of chemicals that are instead imported into the country.

He regretted that most of the industries that are called chemical industries in Nigeria simply serve as packaging industries for other nations. He added that despite Nigeria’s enormous human capital and resources in the chemical sector, the country lags far behind in the industry because it has not taken the chemical industry as the foundation of its development and has not made the necessary investment in the sector.

“There needs to be a deliberate policy to help us look inward, use backward integration to see how we can produce these chemicals and save our hard currency,” he said.

He highlighted the centrality of the chemical industry compared to other universal allies, adding that NARICT has been able to produce different fertilizers and agrochemical products that are very useful for farmers.

He noted that the textile and clothing industry, including the leather industry, is dependent on the chemical industry and called for effective collaboration between allied industries.

He noted that the NARICT bill, when signed into law, will give the agency the full mandate to carry out its responsibilities without any problem, even calling for more findings.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ms. Monilola Udoh, also stressed that the chemical technology industry in Nigeria must be strengthened to reduce the level of its import into the country.

He stated that Nigeria tops the list of countries with the best mix of resources globally, but called for more collaboration between agencies to leverage resources.