The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, says Nigeria has the capacity to produce industrial machine spare parts including those of aircraft through Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu.
Mr Onu said this on Monday in Enugu during the inauguration of projects at Projects Development Institute (PRODA).
The minister said it was gratifying that the institute had come alive to contribute to the diversification mantra of the Federal Government.
"I have seen the progress so far made in this institute but we want them to do more. We want PRODA to be a centre of excellence," he said.
The minister expressed happiness with the induction furnace project of the institute which had the capacity to produce industrial machine and aircraft spare parts.
He said that with the two furnaces, the institute could produce non-ferrous materials including aluminum and stainless steel.
He also challenged the institute to continue its research on the production of lithium batteries with a view to commercialising the findings.
On the pencil production project of the institute, Mr Onu said that he was satisfied that production had finally started.
"We have all seen pencils produced by PRODA and this effort is quite commendable," he said.
The minister challenged PRODA to research into the production of all forms of pencils, including beautification pencils.
He however, said that government was not interested in the institute producing pencils in commercial quantities but for them to transfer their research findings to Nigerians.
"We want them to start influencing the economy of the state. The federal government is interested in creating jobs by producing business men and women.
"So, people should be able to come to PRODA to acquire this technology for their investments," he said.
Mr Onu commended the institute for the work it was doing with graphite which he said had stood PRODA out.
"They are really doing great in this area and it will further make them to contribute to the development of the economy," he said.
Mr Onu tasked the institute to research into the usage of coal taking advantage of the huge coal deposits in the state.
Earlier, the Director General of PRODA, Charles Agulanna, said the last three years had seen an upturn in the fortunes of the institute.
Mr Agulanna thanked the federal government for resuscitating the institute through improved budget provisions.
He said that their key research areas focused on such projects as development and production of lithium ion battery, automation of PRODA agro processing lines, manufacture and standardisation of PRODA Electrical Porcelain Insulators.
Others were beneficiating of clay and graphite ores for school pencil production raw materials and production of PRODA school pencils using paper waste, development and production of 6-cylibder Internal Combustion (IC) Engine.
The rest are production of Azo Dye and adhesive from cashew nuts shell liquid (in-shell wastes), spare parts manufacture and others. (NAN)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu