The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Chief Henry Ikoh has posited that STI has the power to transform the Nigerian economy in several ways.
Ikoh made this assertion during a press conference to announce the commencement of the 2023 Technology and Innovation Expo themed “Actualising Effective Diversification of Nigerian Economy Through STI” being organised by the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) billed to hold from Monday, January 16 to 20, 2023 at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
“First, it can lead to the creation of new industries and businesses, thereby increasing employment opportunities and boosting economic growth.
“Secondly, it can lead to the development of new products and services, which can be exported to other countries, thereby increasing foreign exchange earnings.
“Thirdly, it can lead to the development of new technologies that can be used to improve the efficiency and industries, thereby increasing existing productivity competitiveness,” he said.
According to him, based on the theme of the 2023 expo, to actualise the potential of STI to diversify the Nigerian economy, an enabling environment must be created for innovation and invention. “This,” he said “includes, among others, providing access to funding, creating a culture of innovation within government and private sector organizations, as well as encouraging collaboration between the public and private sectors”.
Listing the objectives of the exposition, Ikoh said they include encouraging interaction between researchers, innovators and investors to commercialise research results, inventions and innovations from Nigeria’s research and tertiary institutions; Bring to the fore the capabilities of Nigerian scientists, engineers, inventors/innovators in contributing to the economic diversification of Nigeria; Promote collaboration among research institutions and researchers/inventors and facilitate the growth of indigenous manufacturing hinged on STI; Support technology transfer promotion initiative and fast-track the implementation of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Road Map 2030.
The minister invited all Nigerians interested in inventions and innovations from research institutes, Federal/states’ MDAS, polytechnics, industrial laboratories, private sectors, international communities, civil society organisations (CSOs), organised private sector (OPS), Nigerians in diaspora, etc, to the Expo 2023 to showcase their inventions and innovations.
He also invited students from all over the country to bring their inventions and innovations to the event, adding that the Ministry will provide support to those inventions and innovations that could tackle emerging problems in the country through Presidential Standing Committee on Inventions and Innovations (PSCII) grant.
He further added that the main highlights of the Expo will be the innovative exhibitions which will feature cutting-edge technologies and products developed by Nigerian inventors, innovators, researchers and start-ups. The exhibitions will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about the latest innovations and to network with inventors, innovators, researchers and start-ups and investors.
Ikoh said that at the opening ceremony, there will be a presentation of the three Best Young Scientists of Nigeria in 2023 to President Buhari for a ‘Presidential Hand-shake’.
“Mr. President annually grants scholarships to these scientists to study any science course of their choice in any of our universities, from [the] first degree up to doctorate levels. Also, there will be a presentation of awards to outstanding research and development products at the closing ceremony on Friday, January 20, 2023,” he added.
Earlier, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mrs. Monilola Udoh elucidated that the first edition of the expo which replaced the National Science and Technology (NASTECH) Week was held in 2017 at Eagle Square, Abuja. According to her, after the first edition, technology and innovation expos have been held annually.
“The Technology and Innovation Expo is a Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation exposition programme designed to strategically showcase the use of science for technological inventions, innovations and, majorly, the research and development (R&D) products and results of the FMSTI’s agencies to attract investors,” she added.