The overseeing director-general of the National Center for Technology Management (NACETEM), Dr. John Omimakinde has opined that the just-ended Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Expo 2023 provided a platform for reflections on the sectoral development of the sector in Nigeria.
He made this assertion during a side event ‘NACETEM Day’ at the just concluded weeklong expo themed “Actualising effective diversification of the Nigerian Economy through STI” which ended at the weekend in Abuja.
Omimakinde stressed that Nigeria had taken stringent steps by developing the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy document (reviewed in 2022) to enhance and fast-track her economic diversification.
According to him, the forum provided a platform to beam the searchlight on the sector as a panacea for national development.
“The STI policy, if judiciously followed, will provide solutions to Nigeria’s quest for local production that will lead to economic growth and the commercialisation of Nigeria’s products for global competitiveness.
“NACETEM as a foremost knowledge support and policy research institution in the country is convinced that the current STI policy is a document that can put us in the direction to go. All we need to achieve sustainable development and diversify Nigeria’s economy is contained therein, but it appears we have not fully owned it and deployed it appropriately. This has to change, as implementing the STI policy as reviewed in 2022 will set Nigeria on the path to wealth,” he assured.
In his remarks, the NACETEM governing board chairman, Hon. Haastrup Olatunji underscored the importance of STI, saying it is relevant to all sectors of the economy.
Olatunji described STI as an “enabler of rapid growth and development” and deploying it to other sectors will not only open up diverse opportunities for Nigerians in terms of employment but also boost the economy as more revenues will be generated from other areas of the economy.
“Statistics abound on the kind of economy we run in Nigeria. The most telling is the one that says Nigerians run a mono-cultural economy, as 85 per cent of her revenue is derived from oil and gas export. While naysayers may see this as not so good because of perceived neglect of the other sectors of the economy, it is important to stress that lamenting the situation will bring us no good. Rather, thinking through how to better the lot of the nation is what we require. This makes the focus of the 2023 STI Expo – ‘Actualizing the diversification of Nigeria’s economy using SRI’ – very apposite and timely,” he added.
In his paper presentation “National STI Policy and its implementation for diversification of Nigerian economy” the guest speaker, Prof. William Siyanbola stressed that the only way for any nation to grow was to harness the intellectual potential of its citizens as research remained key to setting priorities for economic growth for policymakers.
Siyanbola, a former director-general of NACETEM, urged the Nigerian government to create a more enabling environment to encourage innovations and explore the available raw materials to enable Nigerians and other foreign nationals to invest in the nation’s economy.
Earlier in her remarks, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mrs. Monilola Udoh called on all the agencies under the ministry to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to produce materials of commercial value even as she advised against duplication of research products to avoid human resource wastage.
Although she conceded that Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources to put her on the global map of industrialised nations, she said all that is required is the determination and patriotism to harness these resources for national development.