The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Abia State government on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 agreed to work together to support Aba entrepreneurs and other small and medium enterprises in the state.
The agreement was sealed at a meeting between the state government officials led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and the management team of NASENI led by the executive vice chairman and chief executive of the agency, Prof. Mohammad Haruna at the government house Umuahia.
A statement by the assistant chief information officer, Chinyere Obiorah Ekwuazi, said the agreement was the offshoot of a courtesy visit on the governor by NASENI management to seek areas of possible collaboration with the state government in furtherance of Buhari administration’s agenda of providing 10 million jobs to unemployed Nigerian youths.
In his presentation to the governor, Haruna said NASENI could coordinate the proliferation of technologies developed either within or outside of its development institutes and offered to collaborate with Abia State government in priority interest areas for the benefit of people of Abia State.
“NASENI’s approach to the vision of President Buhari administration is to enable local ownership, job creation, technology advancement and sustainable industrial revolution through bridging technology gaps to economic diversification,” he stated.
He added: “Technologies so developed in the areas of spares, components and systems engineering are to be transferred to entrepreneurs and SMEs for production of goods and services for rapid technology development.”
Haruna, requested the governor to allocate the Metallurgical Complex at Umuakolika established since 1976 but not functional to NASENI so it could situate new development institute there, revive the complex, rehabilitate and install some of its machines to make it functional for wealth and job creation for Abia people.
“Also, NASENI can collaborate with the state government to resuscitate the facilities at IBB Technology Village by providing shared facilities and modern manufacturing machines for technology innovators to turn their ideas into technology business”, he also suggested.
The NASENI boss said the federal agency was willing to also partner Abia State government on the textile industries in Aba, recalling that Abia tailors supported the federal government on the production of facemasks.
“Your government has done a lot. For instance, the 30 artisans you trained in 2018 on leather production and the proposed footwear academy, palm oil processing amongst others are remarkable.
” NASENI can collaborate with the state government to locally develop machines and equipment needed to grow these booming industries”, he affirmed.
Responding, Governor Ikpeazu said he was delighted with the achievements NASENI had recorded and would support the one per cent allocation from the federation account to the agency to enable it continue with the development of engineering infrastructures across the country.
“This is an eye opener and has boosted my confidence that Nigeria will one day be competing with other developed countries of the world in promoting products and equipment made in Nigeria,” he said
He noted that NASENI was dealing with contemporary issues and dynamics in its venture such as Keke NASEN, COVID-19 interventions and other modern technological innovations.
The governor said Nigerian youths are very talented and must be encouraged, adding when an inventor sees his innovations in the hands of the authorities, he will be motivated to do more
“In Abia State, we have talents and we have been doing all we can to support them. We are into so many things both in industry and agriculture. So, we are interested in reverse engineering. We have cottage industries, palm oil producing factories among others but we need support in agriculture to create jobs and stop youth restiveness, he stated.
He promised to collaborate with NASENI and offered the Games Village or the Metallurgical Complex to NASENI to build its institute even as he promised to come to Abuja to sign all the necessary documents for the take-off of the partnership.