The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sen. Adeleke Mamora has stressed that science, technology and innovation (STI) play a leading role in the national technology and economic development of the country.
He said STI improves the welfare of human resources and infrastructure to enable it play a vital role in catering for the livelihood of the nation.
Mamora made this disclosure during the ministerial retreat of the FMSTI in Abuja themed “Science Technology and Innovation Role of Government”.
“Once the growth stops, decline sets in. It, therefore, follows that the greater the achievement, the greater the challenge of growth. Like all corporate bodies, we are faced with the challenge of continuously improving existing achievements.
“This gathering provides an opportunity to brainstorm and fashion out a strategic approach for critical activities geared toward achieving the Ministry’s goal of moving Nigeria from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation.
“This is premised on the re-positioning and strengthening efforts embarked upon by the ministry and also in its re-naming from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) to Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2021.”
Mamora explained that STI achievements were made possible because of the leadership of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
According to him, the president demonstrated this by changing the narratives of hitherto inadequate funding of the ministry to improved budgetary provisions resulting in improved research and development outputs across the ministry and her agencies in recent times.
“The president, represented by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in our annual Technology and Innovation Expo in 2021, made the following commitments towards making the ministry one of the cardinal components of our economy and directing the ministry to coordinate the collation and authentication of all products/claims by Nigerian scientists, researchers and traditional medicine practitioners. The authenticated products with efficacies for the treatment of COVID-19 patients will be commercialised and exported to other countries to contend with the deadly virus worldwide, thereby improving the health status of the people for sustained productivity. This will play a vital role in the economic recovery and sustainability of the nation.
“Government to provide an enabling environment to support the science and technology sector that will unlock the enormous potential for the creation of more wealth and employment opportunities to productively engage the youths, thereby dousing their tendency to resort to protest in expressing their grievances.
“In tandem with the decision made by the African Union Executive Council in 2006 to establish a target of 1 per cent of GDP for all member states, as an investment in research and development (R&D) to improve innovation, productivity and economic growth.
“Mr. Vice President reiterated that having come to terms with the challenges of this critical sector of the economy, he pronounced that 0.5 per cent of our GDP would henceforth be allocated to R&D to fast-track meaningful development.
“There is no gain saying the fact that the usefulness of STI is critical to all areas of human endeavours. As you are aware, economic success on the world stage and industrial leadership of nations and corporate bodies today are driven by STI. It is a matter of common knowledge that countries which have made giant strides in sustainable economic development owe such a feat to heavy investments in STI, which guarantees continuous productivity growth and potential for inclusive and sustainable industrial development/revolution,” Mamora said.
In his address, the Minister of State for FMSTI, Chief Henry Ikoh, said that the nation expects more impact from the FMSTI in revenue-generation and [putting a stop] to the importation of things we can produce in the nation, which creates unemployment and weakens the naira. We cannot afford to fail the nation again.
“Mr President has stated that he would want to take 100million Nigerian youths out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“Retreats like these should have been held regularly to rub minds, network among ourselves and, at the same time, hear from third parties (about where we are not getting it right). The outcome of this retreat will be used for the good of our great nation.”
Earlier, the chairman, Senate Committee on Science Technology and Innovation, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, disclosed that no nation becomes great without STI. “On our part at the National Assembly, we have stepped up our contribution to the nation’s growth. We have and will continue to pass bills that will advance the use of STI for our sustainable growth. Some of these bills have passed through the first and second readings. I hope, soon, Mr President will sign the ones we have communicated to him into law.”
In her address, the chairman, House Committee on Science Technology and Innovation, Hon Beni Lar, said that STI can only come alive if it is energised by the commitment of the government. “The key to economic diversification is a robust and dynamic STI sector and only the government can create, energise and sustain it,” he said. “No nation can command respect among the committee of the nation without a robust STI.
“The Nigerian Research and Innovation Trust Fund bill – one of the bills we have passed – makes funding accessible to young individuals with scientific, technological, innovative ideas and [ensure the] nurturing [of] these ideas to commercialization to boost the economy and provide employment,” Lar said.
The chairman, House Committee on Science Research and Institute, Hon. Olaide Akinremi stressed that all over the world STI has proven to be the best [form] of development, therefore, Nigeria cannot be an exemption. “We must energise our stakeholders to realise this objective. It is high time we took research and development seriously and not just [let them rest] on the shelf of the institute. The government will do well to bring in all research institutes under one umbrella for effective and efficient coordination and supervision.”