The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and Zeetin Engineering Limited are to collaborate in the training and retraining of Nigerian Engineers and Technologists on innovative technology.
The President of COREN Engr. Ali Rabiu who disclosed this when he visited the Zeetin Engineering factory in Idu Abuja stated that facilities at the yard could only be likened to what is available in developed countries.
According to him, “when we travel out, people take us on excursion to some factories and they are really not better than this. I would like to commend the promoter of this venture, what we travel out to find, we now have it right here in Abuja. We have issues with training engineers and technologists, but I want to believe that this place will be a good training ground for upcoming engineers and technologists.
“You are not an engineer, but you have taken me round and spoken well. Congratulations on the good work you are doing and I pray that God continues to guide you for being of great assistance to promoting technological development in Nigeria” he added.
Also speaking Zeetin Engineering CEO, Azibaola Robert, while conducting Rabiu and his entourage round the factory said that “We have spent around N3.5 billion and we are still spending. We are only about 70 percent complete, we still have about N2.5 billion as estimated investment needed to complete the project.
Reacting to the challenges of funding the project Robert noted “to be fair to the ministry of Science and Technology, we have not approached them. But the Bank of Industry (BOI) and NEXIM Bank have been supportive though we have not gotten any facility from them. Both parties have been here and they have given us assurances that they are going to sponsor the completion of this project.
On the goal behind the project Robert said “my long term goal is to die a happy man. My short term goal is to develop technology in Nigeria. I am so pained that in our country, we have to look outside to solve the problems of our teaming population. Any little metal you get is imported from abroad.
“Developing these basic metals is not rocket science and even when you talk about rocket science, we can get it done in Nigeria. So, what I am doing here is simply working to start a process that may catalyse others while I am still alive and energetic. When we talk technology or tech companies, most of them are basically importing computer technology (parts) and assembling them in Nigeria.
“We should be able to manufacture things fully in Nigeria. For instance, this machine is made up sheets of metals, if I am to import it and assemble in Nigeria; I will need more than one container. But if I bring those sheets and cut them into this machine, I can bring ten metals worth to cut into a machine. So with one container, I can bring ten machines to cut metals and manufacture…so, what’s the big deal? X-Y axis is the same abroad and Nigeria, 10 millimeters abroad is 10 millimeters in Nigeria. When you talk about writing computer programs for machinery, we have tones of Nigerians in the US and Europe working with big firms. They are willing to work with us and I am in contact with a few of them.
Robert who said power has remained the major challenges being faced by entrepreneurs in the country however noted “Power has been the greatest challenge for Nigeria.
“But you see the real challenge is that, you have to start something, create certain kind of industries, we will not surmount the challenge of power. You also have to think that if only Nigeria had invested in the right technology, we won’t be grappling with this old challenge. Then again, we shouldn’t rely on government for everything.
“So, if I have the capacity to build tank farms, I have capacity to build wind turbines, I can basically tell government, ‘look I am building wind turbines, can give you this area to install the turbines. Why should government do everything? Why should government build power stations? Excerpt for nuclear power plant, the building of lower power installations should be the work of LGs, power companies.
“So, until we catalyse the technological sector, we continue to discuss these problems. Coming back to your question, yes, power is a big challenge, but I see general problems as something you should find a way to resolve it. AEDC is doing the much they can for us, plus we have generators and we will do solar. But at the end of the day, if power becomes so critical, we will start building turbines by ourselves” he added.
Robert expressed the optimism that when the factory becomes fully operational that allied industries will spring up to galvanize the economy noting that “So, if you look at a car, it has about 3000 parts. No car manufacturer manufactures all of these parts.
“If I am here building cars and I am unable to manufacture the glass, maybe if an investor thinks he can break even by making glass for my cars, he will move here or set up not too far away. If I am not interested in making bolts and nuts, somebody could take notice that Zeetin Engineering consumes so much bolt and nuts and he builds a factory to produce it.
“He can even come here to ask that we make a machine to produce bolts and nuts. We do it for him and he goes into the business. Why should we import bolts and nuts? I am looking at Aba, thinking, I can ask them to make good leather seats for my cars? Can we open a competition for people in Aba to make quality upholstery for our cars? The fact is, if we don’t give local manufacturers a chance they will not improve. You talk about experience, but experience is based on being given the opportunity to start. We have a huge leather industry in Kano, why can’t we harness it to make good upholstery for local use and exportation” he added.