The Federal Government said it will establish six technology, innovation centres (TICs) to assist in closing the gap presently in existence, where a lot of research is taking place in Nigeria, through the use of science, technology and innovation (STI).
The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh disclosed this in Abuja during the flag-off of the zonal dialogue between government and stakeholders in the STI ecosystem, on the establishment and implementation of the technology and innovation centres for global competitiveness and productivity.
The dialogue which serves as a call to service of humanity also attempts to solve issues related to socioeconomic activities and the stabilisation of the nation’s foreign exchange.
He said as part of the requirements for the full implementation of Presidential Executive Order No 005, it became necessary to establish six TICs to assist in closing the gap presently in existence, where many research works are taking place in Nigeria in silos.
Ikoh, represented by the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Monilola Udoh explained that Executive Order No 005 is aimed at placing Nigerian professionals and manufacturers at the centre of the nation’s economy. He said the order was the sole instrument of this administration that can midwife a renaissance to transform the economy from a resource-based to a knowledge-based one driven by knowledge.
“The technology and innovation centres established under Executive Order No 005 are designed to serve as centres of excellence, with the major objectives of improving on the present understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Also, it is aimed at establishing a framework for consultation, sharing experience, information and practices as well creation of a conducive environment for interaction among scientists working on projects in different geopolitical zones of the country and internationally.
“One cannot survive in the [global] economy today without the use of STI. We need STI in one way or the other. There is a need to continue to improve the business, industry and service-driven research and development capacity and capability of the country.
The centres will serve as media for the presentation and analysis of research findings and results for possible patenting and commercialisation. “There is a need to continue to improve on the business, industry and service-driven research and development capacity and capability of the country.
“Over the years, the role of STI in the developmental agenda of the nation has not been fully utilised in this regard. However, the dwindling revenue base and an upsurge in the foreign exchange rate of the country calls for serious concern; hence, the need to look inwards at the active role of STI in reversing this trend.
“The continuous improvement in global competitiveness index (GCI) for Nigeria in the global market is an important task that we must continue to pursue to enable our country to command an equitable share of export in the global market. This administration will continue to support science, technology and innovation as a state policy for economic recovery and growth.
“The experience of COVID-19 in the economic transformation of many countries in the world, including Nigeria, is an example that underlines the importance of STI in the socio-economic development of a nation and the need to make STI play important roles in the socio-economic development of any nation,” he added.
The trajectory in business and R&D are the main drivers of innovation, including sound policies, indicating good technological progress towards accelerating the goals of sustainability and shared prosperity,
“I believe that, at the end of the dialogue in the six zones, the stakeholders will be able to come up with a strategy to ensure that the technology and innovation centres will produce tech giants, effectively encourage peer review of researchers’ work and promote learning of new approaches to research through interaction. It is expected that the outcome of the dialogue will increase patents, innovative discoveries and inventions, the emergence of commercial research and development companies, improve research funding and interaction among scientists in Nigeria, better visibility for Nigerians, as well as provide a platform for the presentation of results of reverse engineering and breakthroughs from inventions,” he stressed.
In his remarks, the national coordinator of the Strategy Implementation Task Office for Presidential Executive Order No. 005 (SITOPEO.5), Engr. Ibiam Oguejiofor hailed STI as “an indispensable part of our everyday life. The only way that this country can grow and move from consumption to production, from a resources-based economy to a knowledge-based [one] is through STI,” he said.
In her remarks, the director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Abuja regional office, Dr. Dimitri Sanga disclosed that the organisation is ready to support the ministry.
Sanga, represented by the national professional officer, science, UNESCO, Dr. Moma Enan, promised to collaborate with the ministry to achieve better STI in the country.