The president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Mansur Ahmed, has called on the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to lead Nigeria in leveraging on science, technology and engineering infrastructure to fully facilitate sustainable economic growth and development of the country.
He made this call during his keynote address at the NASENI Day at the Technology and Innovation Expo 2022, organised by the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) in Abuja, saying Nigeria needs to spend N3 trillion over the space of 30 years to bridge the country’s infrastructure deficit gap in line with the objectives of the National Development Plans (NDP) 2021-2025 and beyond.
Ahmed said NASENI was central to the sustainable delivery of the National Economic Development plans which requires N348.1 trillion investment, 85 per cent of which should come from the private sector.
The MAN president, represented by the managing consultant, WeirCapacity, Mr. Nyananso Ekanem, stated that the six broad objectives of the Nigeria Development Plan are economic diversification, investment in infrastructure, security and good governance, educated and healthy population, poverty alleviation and economic and social development across the states of the federation.
Decrying the financial gap in infrastructural development, he said Nigeria needs to spend N3 trillion over the space of 30 years to bridge the country’s infrastructure gap.
“Significant financing from the private sector and multilateral funding are needed to address Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit. Nigeria is behind other emerging market peers and will require significant investments to bridge her infrastructure gap.
“NASENI should align its strategic directions with the objectives of Nigeria’s National Development plans (starting with NDP 2021-2025). NASENI may also need to rework its institutional structure, infrastructure need and resource plans in tandem with emerging requirements for the implementation of NDPs. NASENI should take the lead to leverage the Nigeria science, technology and engineering infrastructure to fully facilitate sustainable economic growth and development of the country.”
He, however, noted that Nigeria is faced with many budgeting and financing challenges – weak institutions and governance framework, low tax base – which hinder infrastructure investments.
In his address, the executive vice chairman of NASENI, Engr. Mohammed Haruna, said the need to embrace and develop local capacity and capability for innovations could not be overemphasised. He frowned at the Nigerian economy being at the mercy of a fluctuating commodity market alone.
“Science and engineering infrastructure drive all economies of the world. Our national economy will continue to be in stagnation except we invest in science and engineering infrastructure both in facilities and human capacity. Our manufacturing sector which ought to be a major driver of our economy is suffering because of lack of engineering and other socio-economic infrastructure,” he said.
A statement by the agency’s chief information officer, Obiorah Chinyere, said the NASENI boss used the occasion to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the remittance of everything needed to reposition NASENI for solid and sustainable industrialisation of Nigeria, including funding requirements.
“There are promising indicators already against the backdrop of a World Bank report of January 2022. Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2022 and 2.8 per cent in 2023. Based on the report, global growth is expected to decelerate markedly from 5.5 per cent to 4.1 per cent in 2022, then 3.2 per cent in 2023. To sustain this economic growth, Nigeria has no alternative than to continuously invest generously in research and development in science, technology and innovation,” he explained.
Speaking as the chair of the occasion, former president of MAN, Chief Kola Jamodu, expressed satisfaction at NASENI’s capacity and innovations. He went ahead to encourage investors, entrepreneurs and the general public to patronise NASENI’s local and indigenous technologies.