An expert with the Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Prof. Olalekan Akinbo, has touted Nigeria’s science, technology and innovation sector to spear-head the nation’s socio-economic development, if backed by the right policies.
In a telephone interview with Science Nigeria, Akinbo emphasised that such policies should encourage innovation and indigenous technology that would address the specific needs of various socioeconomic groups in the country. He suggested that tax cuts should be granted to industries to motivate them to target specific indigenous inventions and innovations that might not necessarily be for the international market but for the national market.
He re-iterated that if tax cuts were given and industries saw the benefits as not accruing to the global market, but targeted at meeting local challenges and to help the socio-economic growth of the country, they would be willing to invest.
“Also, government should also create an enabling environment that supports STI by building a sustainable infrastructure that can help startups and those inventions that are not coming from a conventional proof of concept.
“They should be those ones that are coming to meet the needs of individuals, the needs of a specific group and the yearnings at the grassroots,’’ he reasoned.
Also, Akinbo suggested that the government create an enabling environment that supports STI by building a sustainable infrastructure. This infrastructure could help startups and those inventions that are not coming from a conventional proof of concept but rather those coming to meet the needs of individuals, specific groups, and the yearnings of the grassroots. He also mentioned that financial security and protection of the intellectual property rights of an innovator were important areas the government must take cognisance of to make STI work for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians.
“What I’m saying is that there are products which can easily be developed in an environment where the raw materials are locally sourced, and this would automatically cut off the cost of transportation.
“Innovations that use technologies where raw materials are locally sourced should be located in that environment, which would now become the hub where the industry can develop that innovation to a scalable commercial level.
“Products developed from the innovations would then be transported across the country where the raw materials are not available, but the finished product can benefit the people of other geographical location,’’ he said.