The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the promotion of the adoption of new and emerging technologies to facilitate the nation’s economic development.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, made this known at the second interactive forum with the state commissioners in charge of science and technology yesterday in Abuja, saying government was making conscious and sustained efforts for Nigeria to be at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and would ensure that the country would not be excluded from any branch of science and technology.
“We have virtually concluded consultations with relevant stakeholders within the ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government as it concerns nanotechnology. We find nanotechnology to have applications in virtually all other technologies, including space, artificial intelligence and robotics as it concerns improved productivity and reduction in size and cost,” he said.
Onu said the government was determined to improve funding of science, technology and innovation, adding, “Mr. President announced that 0.5 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will now be used to fund STI in the country, though the African Union (AU) recommended 1 per cent of GDP to be utilized for science and technology in all countries of the continent, the 0.5 per cent is an improvement over what we had in the past.”
Saying efforts are on ground to ensure that Nigeria is prepared for a post crude oil era, he explained that the country has 187 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and has the highest natural gas reserves in the world and 9th highest in the world.
The minister added that the ministry was introducing methanol to the nation’s economy, as it can be utilised to produce as many as 1000 different products that can be used in our homes, schools, offices, hospitals, farms and factories.
“The production of methanol will help us to stop gas flaring in the country. Since natural gas is the major feedstock for its production, this will increase the demand for natural gas and hence initially reduce and finally help stop gas flaring in the country,” he added.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi called for close collaboration among the federal, states and the ministry’s agencies to enhance the effective domestication of the National STI roadmap 2017-2030.
He further said state governments should create the needed governance structure that would facilitate the deployment of STI in fast-tracking economic development in the states.
Abdullahi advocated that the forum should initiate a mechanism for joint R &D programmes between the ministry and states that have comparative advantage in certain fields of research.