The director-general of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA) Enugu, Dr. Peter Ogbobe has restated that the agency’s collaboration with other institutions has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth.
Speaking at a side event ‘PRODA Day’ at the just concluded Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Expo 2023 themed “Actualising Effective Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy through Science, Technology and Innovation”, in Abuja, Ogbobe posited that the realisation that the institute can not operate in a silo caused it to reach out to industries, tertiary institutions and other research institutions to help create the synergy required for Nigeria’s economic growth through STI.
“In collaboration with the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, PRODA runs a diploma programme in ceramic technology and many students have benefited from this. Also, [there is] a partnership with Godfrey Okoye University Enugu for the practical training of her students in engineering and electrical field.
“In collaboration with the Raw Material and Research Development Council (RMRDC), PRODA has trained Kashi KoKo local potters in Niger State in modern ceramic production technique and has availed technopreneurs of analytical services, in collaboration with the Ebonyi State University of Science and Technology,” he said.
The PRODA boss averred that the agency has remained one of the leading research institutes in the country since its creation in 1971 with total adherence and improvement to its mandate which gave birth to the numerous research and development achievements that are consciously and unconsciously geared towards the diversification of the economy.
Ogbobe maintained that this can be attested to by the development and production of its agro and agro-allied machinery, as well as numerous other market-driven, R&D achievements that are ready for commercialisation.
According to him, PRODA’s engagement in innumerable demand-driven research over the last 40 years has led to an innovative breakthrough in diverse sectors of the economy.
He listed some of the research breakthroughs including the design and production of a soya bean flour processing flow line, design and production of a plantain flour processing flow line, the design and production of PRODA pencil for the education sector the design and production of a pin-and-shackle electrical porcelain insulator relevant to the energy sector and wholly impacted and ready for commercialisation; Design and production of refractory bricks relevant to furnace linings in a wide range of industries and 90 – 95 per cent impacted; Design and production of the ceramic multi-biomass cooking stove for domestic purposes and as an alternative source of cooking; Design and production of sawdust briquettes for domestic fuel/energy, among others.
Others include the design and production of ceramic filter candles and pots with the most friendly water-treated/friendly materials /minerals used to achieve its best source of improved PH level (WHO standard), the design and production of solar lighting systems, production of high voltage power surge for the protection of electrical appliances, the production of azo-dye from cashew nut liquid (waste-to-wealth) for textile, leather and petroleum industry, amongst others.
He further highlighted that PRODA’s foundry has been equipped to service and produce major types of motor spare parts of high quality.
In her remarks, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Monilola Udoh lauded the institute for its numerous innovation and inventions which Nigeria is proud of.
“We are very proud of the giant strides the agency is making in the areas of innovation and inventions. Before PRODA’s intervention Nigeria was importing something as minute as pencils. However, the agency’s intervention has shown that Nigeria has all it takes to be self-sufficient by producing what it consumes,” she stressed.
Udoh, however, urged the agency to sensitise more Nigerians to let them know what they are producing and seek partnerships with relevant organisations with the ability to commercialise the products of their research and development.
Speaking on the event sideline with journalists, the director of engineering, research development and production, PRODA, Dr. Edwin Oriaku pointed out that STI holds the key to Nigeria’s rapid industrialisation.
He listed challenges to innovation and invention as the paucity of funds for research and a lack of proper incentives by the government.
“There are a lot of challenges to innovation in Nigeria and one of them is funds. You can conceive an idea and then try to create it – that is, bring it out from the paper. Then getting the funds to make it come to reality will be a problem.
“Another thing is that there should be government incentive to innovators, researchers and stakeholders in the science and technology sector, so that we can grow,” he added.