STI: Onu Seeks More Private Sector Investment

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The minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has called on entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and the business community to invest more capital, innovation and ideas into the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) in Nigeria.

Onu made the call during a breakfast meeting with Nigerian entrepreneurs and captains of industries at the weekend in Lagos, to synergise on how more investment can be utilised through the private sector for the overall development of science, technology and innovation for Nigeria’s socio-economic benefit. 

He said the government’s efforts to grow STI in the country haven’t been enough and the need for venture capitalists is crucial to the speedy development of the sector.

“Venture capitalists in the technologically developed countries play the very important role of transforming ideas into goods, by taking the necessary risks. In the absence of venture capitalists, we need to involve our top-rated entrepreneurs who are major risk-takers in the development process. For too long we have been dealing with manufacturers; we need to utilise the risk-bearers who will constitute the major off-takers of the products of scientific research and innovation activities by our scientists all over the country,” he said.

The minister further explained to the entrepreneurs that necessary legal and policy frameworks have been laid out to create the necessary conducive environment.

According to him, the business community is the most formidable member of the STI Ecosystem. 

“I am convinced that you constitute the most formidable demography of the STI Ecosystem, and, hence, provide the best mechanism to transform existing research and development breakthroughs and findings to wealth through commercialisation for industrial and services’ application,” he stated.

Onu informed the business community that the ministry was reformed to coordinate innovation activities in the country, adding that for the first time since independence all regulatory bodies in the country have been brought together, to ensure Nigerian goods and services are of global standards. 

Earlier, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, said that the ministry is looking forward to leveraging on their wealth of experience in businesses towards better application of scientific research and development outcomes to value addition in Nigerian enterprises.

He added that all the ministry’s agencies are ready to exhibit some of their outcomes and breakthroughs from research and development.

Abdullahi noted that the agencies except to know their needs and look for the best possible ways to collaborate to achieve results. He added, that they were open to receiving advisory notes that would help them serve the public better.

In his remarks, a business magnate Pascal Dozie, who delivered a speech titled “Building strategic partnership between science, technology and innovation community and Nigerian entrepreneurs” said that the essence of the meeting was to foster effective collaboration among the critical stakeholders within the STI ecosystem that will lead to significant inclusive development and growth of Nigeria.

He expressed optimism that a robust framework for the full commercialisation of key innovations can be achieved. He noted the following points to ensure meaningful impact and sustainability of the objective which includes that the framework should be properly developed to ensure that the interests of the different stakeholders such as financiers, the innovators, regulators, communities should be properly considered to ensure sustainable and beneficial collaboration and outcomes.

“Due to the diverse nature of innovations from various research institutes, it is important to do a proper segmentation and mapping of the innovations along sectorial lines,” he added.

Alex Apeh
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