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NCDMB's Innovation Process Leads to PCB and Other Devices Production Capability

By Prosper Okoye

The Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has achieved in-country manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), gas leak detector devices, and other electronic and electric devices.

Speaking recently in Abuja, at the commissioning of the production facility, Amal Technologies, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, commended the board for achieving this “significant landmark.”

Lokpobiri, who was represented by the Director of Upstream, Kamoru Busari, said the innovation aligns with President Bola Tinubu's Renewed Hope agenda, which aims to deepen gas-based industrialization and foster the creation of a circular economy to drive national economic recovery.

Lokpobiri also attributed the success to the 2022 Startup Act, which provided the legal framework for the establishment and sustenance of innovation-driven startup companies.

He assured that his ministry would sustain the success recorded and called for further collaboration.

Also speaking, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, emphasized that the production facility showcased President Tinubu’s commitment to youth development.

He said Nigerian youth, constituting the majority of the nation, have the potential to drive economic development with their broadened horizons and capacity.

"That is why the president, in his wisdom, decided to engage the youth, not just rhetorically or polemically, but in actuality.

"He has chosen this as the best way to actualize his mission and vision by making the youth the drivers of the policy.

"And inculcating in our youth the values of hard work, remarkable dexterity, and assiduous celerity, which will dovetail into the economic rejuvenation of the country.

"It does not happen in one day because every public policy has a gestation period.

"But with persistence, the curve will be turned, and positive results will begin to manifest.

"Today’s occasion is an example of a positive result that is beginning to show," he added.

NCDMB Executive Secretary Omatsolo Ogbe, described Amal gas leak detector as a smart technology capable of saving lives.

Ogbe recalled the 2020 gas explosion in Lagos that claimed over 20 lives, injured more than 200 people, and displaced over 500 Nigerians.

"As Nigeria's development priorities shift towards gas-based industrialization, with a significant increase in gas utilization, it has become even more imperative to deploy safety and preventive tools such as the Amal Smart gas leak detection. This is crucial to ensure the safety of lives and properties as citizens embrace gas usage," he added.

Ogbe who was recently appointed by President Bola Tinubu, congratulated the Amal team for being the first startup company out of the NCDMB Technology Innovation and Incubation Center (TIIC) and pledged that more startup companies would emerge from research and innovation breakthroughs under his leadership.

According to Abdulmalik Halilu, the NCDMB Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, the board was able to drive the innovation through its strategy and effective resource utilization over the years.

"The NCDMB has six major pillars of success, and one of these pillars is research and development," he said, adding that knowledge from the Indian technology Institute in Madras was leveraged to drive homegrown solutions.

Halilu said that following the board’s annual call for proposals from researchers that could provide solutions to Nigeria’s peculiar problems, Amal Technologies was selected after rigorous processes.

“The idea itself presented a way forward for us to support. It was relevant to the trends and requirements of the government.” 

He said that to ensure the originality of the gas leakage detector, the Nigeria Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) was consulted.

"The originality is its ability to send an SMS when there is a leakage and, ultimately, make a call. Thus, we were able to secure a patent," he noted.

"We went ahead to support the development of prototypes using 3D printers. It went through different ideation processes to determine the size, design, and workability,” he said.

Halilu said stakeholders and other relevant agencies approved of the product. "Its market viability was also established."

However, he said that the commercial banks and other financial institutions that were engaged to get funding for mass production did not have the ability to support innovation. “Thus, the NCDMB had to leverage its research and development funds to support equity participation for the business, just to show that it is viable and others could also invest in it.”

Halilu added that the plant has the potential to create up to 400 jobs, with an annual turnover prospect of 9.3 billion Naira.

Also speaking, Amal Technologies Limited Chief Executive Officer, Shehu Abdullahi, said the product idea began in 2018 and is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.

"I first heard about NCDMB from a friend, and when we started the project, I did not know anyone in NCDMB. I simply had hope and a vision for technological advancement in Nigeria.

"Exactly five years ago, I had a great idea for this product from a fire incident that happened in my house. I came back home to find one of our gas cylinders already on fire.

"So I said to myself, as a technologist, I should make a device that will let me know whatever is happening in the house," he explained.

Abdullahi also disclosed that Amal Technologies produced another device with the ability to turn off a gas cylinder to avoid a fire outbreak.

"We can literally produce any consumer electronics, any hardware end-to-end, and we do not compromise on quality.

“We have other products like the smart energy meter, POS, which accepts payments offline, the printed circuit board, and other security devices," he added.

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