The National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCSTI) has commenced its 19th meeting to brainstorm on harmonizing stand-alone research efforts scattered all over Nigeria.
The council, being hosted by the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI), is the second highest decision-making body on science, technology and innovation (STI), and related issues in Nigeria and has all heads of parastatals under the ministry as well as commissioners and permanent secretaries of ministries of science and technology from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as members.
The week-long event with the theme – ‘Investment in research and development: A necessary tool to improving Nigerian economy’ being chaired by the FMSTI permanent secretary, Mr. Edet Akpan, is meant to come up with policy statements that would guide STI development in the country for the next one-year.
Declaring the meeting open today in Abuja, Akpan said there was no gainsaying that the NCSTI was a veritable platform to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are fully integrated and involved in the development and deployment of STI at addressing Nigeria’s national challenges.
According to him, STI constitutes the engine of socio-economic advancement of any nation hence the need for closer collaboration among the three tiers of government and greater synergy in the task of deploying science, technology and innovation as an instrument of holistic national transformation.
He called on the organized private sector (OPS) to explore ways of partnering the various research institutes and agencies in commercializing viable products and services for the good of our society.
Akpan further said it was imperative for state governments to create the enabling environment by building the needed governance structure that would facilitate the deployment of STI to fast-track economic development in states.
Speaking at the sidelines of the event, the director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Halilu Shaba, said the council is the second highest science, technology body that makes policies and looks at other areas of development.
“The idea of having a council meeting is to at least bring most of us together to look at the activities we have been doing and also to identify where we need to have collaborations, enhance other activities that need government attention.
“Because we have all the permanent secretaries here, the meeting will be looking at the issue of innovations, future technology and also identifying some gaps. These are the areas we are looking at and that is why we are receiving memoranda from all organisations from the states because there are efforts that are going on in the universities, states and federal level,” he said.
In the same vein, the director-general, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, explained the council was more like a family meeting not only for agencies under the FMSTI but it goes down to state and local governments.
“If you are coming out with a policy you don’t expect it to be within the confinement of the federal parastatals if you want it to work and have effect on the development of the system, the states must have to be involved.
“So, this gathering is meant to permeate some of these policies down to state and local government levels so that collectively, we are expecting them to play their role, we play ours, everybody plays his role then collectively we’ll move the nation forward,” he added.
Similarly, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Edo State, Birgitta Eno Okodugha, said the meeting presented a platform for brainstorming amongst the federal, state and local government councils and I believe at the end of this meeting we will all leave here with a well-built capacity and policy agreements which we will implement in the state to drive improvement of science, technology and innovation development at all levels of government.