Our NGO, Educational Initiative for Development in Western Nigeria (EIDWN) is primarily interested in the strategic role of Education in socio-economic development. The current policy of criminalisation of cottage industries in crude oil refinery and its negative impact on the development and contribution of indigenous technology to socio-economic growth is therefore the basis of our concern.
2. The apparent futility of eradication of illegal oil refinery (like prohibition of local gin production in the ‘50s and ‘60s) on a permanent basis seems to be indicative of a faulty or outdated diagnosis of the problem and inappropriate response. The growing trend in spite of harsh aggressive military measures by Government calls for a drastic review of policy to stream-line same with this natural phenomenon in the national interest.
Cottage Crude-oil Refineries as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSE) Benefits
3. When SMSE crude-oil refinery is legitimised and supported by Government the following game-changing benefits accrue to the economy:
- The energy for militancy and criminality especially in the oil-producing areas is defused and re-directed towards peaceful and productive ventures;
- The de-criminalization of cottage refinery activities will facilitate regulation, monitoring and control for acceptable standards in the industry;
- Massive employment generation and economic growth is spurred as in the case of China and India, in particular, where SMSE cottage industries laid the foundation for their economic emergence and greatness;
- Penetration, dissemination and acquisition of skills and technology transfer is faster, wider and better sustained;
- Encouragement and development of indigenous skills in yet another sphere just as the South East, especially the Nnewi axis – in fabrication;
- Value-chain development and economic contribution of crude-oil is deepened;
- De-criminalisation and regulation will bring current clandestine operators and industry into formal Tax Net; and
- Incidents of pipe-line vandalisation, wastage of crude-oil / finished products and environmental pollution will significantly subside.
These are some of the key direct discernible benefits of legalisation of SMSE operations of the crude-oil refinery sector.
It is our fervent prayer and hope that Government will find the political will and enablement to give immediate effect (Ministries of Commerce, Industry, Education, Science and Technology in particular) to this, for the overall good of our dear people that it has sworn to serve.