President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the commitment of his administration to the creation of an intervention fund to support research in science and technology in the country.
Mr Buhari made the pledge on Monday in Enugu while declaring open the 2019 Technology and Innovation Expo organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The expo was under the theme: ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth’.
The President was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
He said that the move was borne out of his conviction that the country needed the application of science and technology to achieve prosperity.
According to him, the importance attached to science and technology has led his administration to apply same in the crystallisation of the country’s growth plan 2017 – 2030.
Mr Buhari commended efforts so far put up by the ministry in the advancement of technology, which he said had resulted in job creation and capacity development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Executive Council has developed key policies in the sector, including a National Strategy for Promoting Competiveness in Raw Materials and Products Development in the country.
Mr Buhari, however, said that efforts by his administration to achieve national growth through science and technology would not materialise without the participation of the private sector.
In a keynote address, the Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, said that the event became necessary following the growth in the level of creativity and inventiveness in Nigerians.
Mr Onu said that there were strong indications that science and technology could do for Nigeria what it had done in countries like India, China, South Korea and others.
He said that his optimism drew from the fact that the number of patents obtained by Nigerians in 2018 rose to 55 as against 6 received in 2015.
“Already, the number of patents secured with the assistance of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP, in 2018 rose significantly,” he said.
The minister said that tremendous progress had been made in the area of commercialisation of research findings.
“Many of our research findings are now products available in the market place for our people to buy and use, because we make sure that our researches focus on urgent national needs,” he said.
Mr Onu said that many of the agencies under the supervision of the ministry had made important contributions to job creation.
“As a result of their research findings aimed at encouraging entrepreneurial development, many start-up businesses have sprung up in different parts of the country,” he said.
He said that with adequate funding, the ministry could help the country create millions of new jobs.
The minister added that the country under Buhari was moving in a new direction aimed at building a knowledge-based economy that is innovation driven.
“In this way, we are deploying science, technology and innovation to convert our numerous natural resources into products that we need and export.
“Every Nigerian is a major player as doing so will reduce poverty in the country.
“Our goal is to ensure that any Nigerian who wants to work is gainfully employed,” Mr Onu said.
NAN also reports that participants at the four-day event were drawn from research institutions, government agencies, private organisations and students.