By G9ija

Minister of Environment, Muhammed Mahmood Abubakar, yesterday, said the Federal Government was initiating policies that support stakeholders in phasing out Hydro Chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC-141b), an ozone-depleting substance, in the production of foams.

He spoke at the commissioning of a partnership project in Lagos, where he encouraged the use of methyl formate as an alternative to HCFC 141b. Abubakar said the initiative, second of its kind after South Africa on the continent, would encourage ozone-friendly and low global warming potential blowing agents in the production of rigid foam, foreign exchange from methyl formate exports and local production.

“The methyl formate systems will serve as source of raw material to ice-making machine manufacturers. The project will lead to increased capacity utilisation in enterprises that will be using the produced methyl formate,” he stated.

The minister said Nigeria chose methyl formate as a product-blowing agent because of cost effectiveness, solubility, low volatility and system stability.

Abubakar, who also witnessed the handing over of pressure foaming machines to four beneficiaries in the refrigeration and air conditioning manufacturing sector, promised that government would provide adequate training. He advised the recipients to make good use of the items.

In their remarks, the partners, including the Group Managing Director of Vitafoam Plc, Taiwo Adeniyi and Country Representative for UNIDO Office, Jean Bakole, pledged their commitment to the success of the project.

Adeniyi implored the minister to use his office in influencing policies that foster an enabling environment for private entrepreneurs to set up sandwich panel production lines across the six geopolitical zones.

He also urged him to ensure reduction in duty for pre-painted galvanised steel. Bakole reassured of UNIDO’s continued support for programmes that encourage sustainable environment for the present and future generations.