The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has commenced a regional stakeholder’s forum to put machinery in place to strengthen the implementation of the NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF) scheme for efficient and speedy technology development of the country.
Speaking at a one-day interactive meeting with key stakeholders of the scheme – made up of beneficiaries, their supervisors and sponsoring companies at Kano for the northern region, the director-general of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, said the process of strengthening includes the review of bond (agreement) with stakeholders and implementation guidelines.
According to him, there was a need to look into the existing agreements signed between the office and beneficiaries of the NITTF programme, with the view to making some amendments to reflect the experiences gained from the inception of the scheme in 2015.
The DG noted that in carrying out one of its statutory mandates, NOTAP discovered a huge gap between academia and the industry especially in linking research and development (R&D) results to the manufacturing sector of the economy.
He stated that to address the weakness and bridge the gap in the process of acquiring and adopting foreign technologies in Nigeria, NOTAP initiated a programme known as NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF).
Ibrahim stated that based on some noticeable lapses in the agreement, as well as the implementation guidelines, there was the need to review the documents to address the challenges and reflect current realities which all stakeholders will strictly adhere to. He added that the beneficiaries of the NITTF scheme under the agreements were to furnish the office with quarterly reports of their progress and challenges but in most cases, they wait for the office to demand that before they send their report.
He also noted that as part of the agreement, the sponsoring companies are supposed to allow the beneficiaries to undertake an industrial visit to their facilities for practical experience.
The NOTAP boss further stated that the scheme was for three to four years’ sponsorship but some candidates were able to graduate within the stipulated time while others have spent over seven years; hence the need for the interactive meeting to ascertain what the challenges are and proffer solutions where applicable.
Also while declaring open the southern region NITTF stakeholders’ forum held in Lagos recently, the director-general, who was represented by the director, consultancy services of NOTAP, Dr. Adamu Tandama, noted that the office was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country through the registration of technology transfer agreements and at the same time promote the development of indigenous technologies.
He added that the office carries out the registration of technology transfer agreements after evaluating the agreements under three major perspectives; economic, legal and technical perspectives.
A statement by the agency’s assistant chief public relations officer, Raymond Ogbu, said the NITTF scheme was an initiative designed to develop the technical competencies of young and talented Nigerians with master’s degrees but have an unwavering interest in academia to pursue their doctorate degrees in any field of choice by the sponsoring company.
The NOTAP helmsman added that multinational companies usually embark on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by building schools and digging boreholes for host communities which is good but could be better if the capacity of the citizens is built, hence the introduction of NITTF for manpower development.
Ibrahim encouraged the beneficiaries and other Nigerian researchers to first file for patenting of their inventions before publishing their R&D results in any international journal as according to him, any research finding that is published before filing for a patent is already in the public domain can be exploited by anybody.
He urged more companies to show interest in the scheme so that some of their challenges which hitherto were referred to their mother companies abroad can be solved within the country at quicker and cheaper rates. The NITTF stakeholder’s fora for north and south achieved the set-out objectives as areas for improvement have been identified.