The Federal Government has revealed it is currently reviewing the nation’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy to be compliant with the demands of the 21st and, possibly, those of the next century.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, made this known at the ongoing National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCSTI), themed – ‘Investment in research and development: a necessary tool to improving Nigeria’s economy’ in Abuja.
Onu stressed that the world is moving forward with STI and Nigeria cannot afford to compete in the global space with an obsolete policy, hence the need for a review.
According to him, having been renamed the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the ministry has been placed in a better position to drive STI development in the nation and is in the process of reviewing its vision, mission and target deliverables with support from the UNESCO.
Onu said Nigeria cannot be left behind as the world moves ahead and the country must do everything within her power to boost investment in research to grow in the [global] competitiveness ranking.
He further stated that the establishment of the technology innovation centres (TICs) across the six geopolitical zones of the country is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s global competitiveness index, with plans being made by the government plans to begin with the piloting of two TICs in Lagos and Kano, with others to follow subsequently.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, in his welcome address, described the theme of the council meeting as “apt”, considering the negative effects of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of both developing and developed nations of the world and also the fact that the contribution of STI to vaccine production and other protocols are highly needed.
He pointed out that one of the major challenges facing the STI sector of developing economies is the lack of adequate funding for research, development and innovation (RD&I). He said, for this reason, government needs to invest heavily in research and development to spur industrialization and improve the livelihood of Nigerians.
In his presentation on ‘Innovation: its impact on socio-economic and industrial growth in developing nations’, Prof, Steven Odi-Owei, a professor of Mechanical Engineering Rivers State University of Science and Tech., Port Harcourt, urged the government to address crime, corruption, healthcare, education, water and air pollution, agriculture and food safety, power and traffic using science, technology and infrastructure.
He stressed that innovation would underpin Nigeria’s socio-economic development and urged the government to reward innovation to motivate innovators in the country.
In his goodwill message on behalf of the diplomatic corps, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Nigeria, His Excellency, David Nieves Velásquez Caraballo, said that the development of STI in Nigeria is a positive development and pledged that his country will continue to work closely with Nigeria for mutual benefits in many areas, including STI.