Technology

FG tasks stakeholders in science, innovation on synergy, ideas to improve production

By CHARLES ONYEKWERE

The Federal Government, on Thursday, tasked stakeholders in science, technology and innovation on synergy and ideas to improve production in order to create jobs and wealth in the country.

The Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Chief Henry Ikoh, gave the task during a two-day South-East Dialogue on the Establishment and Implementation of the Technology and Innovation Centres for Global Competitiveness and Productivity held in Enugu.

The dialogue, which is being organised by the Strategy Implementation Task Office for Presidential Executive Order number 5 (SITOPEO-5), is themed: “Achieving Nigeria’s Competitiveness and Improved Foreign Exchange Earnings through Science, Technology and Innovation”.

Ikoh said that over the years, the role of STI in the developmental agenda of the nation had been relegated; adding that the dwindling revenue base and lower foreign exchange earnings of the country called for serious concern.

According to him, hence, the need to look inwards at the active impact STI can play in reversing this trend, thus; leading to the Establishment of Technology and Innovation Centres and the Global Competitiveness Index for Nigeria.

The minister noted that this premise led to the present administration using the STI for innovation and productivity to achieve a shift in policies for the implementation and realization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“Let me at this juncture state that more needs to be done to achieve the desired goal in Research and Development’s capacity and capability of the country.

“The innovation ecosystem of the country is geared towards generation of ideas as well as translates them into products and their commercialisation to a large scale.

“It is a known fact that the success of this is dependent on several factors, such as very strong knowledge-generation area (universities, research centres and laboratories), and the active collaboration between these knowledge centres and commercial businesses; we still hope to improve on this.

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“The long-term research and development would give the desired breakthrough, and therefore requires that all hands must be on deck,” he said.

Ikoh said that Nigerians must rise to take up the challenge of STI to enhance productivity and checkmate the spate of importation, adding that “we have no business importing anything we can produce or have capacity to produce locally”.

The minister said that the President had given his mandate for the ministry to ensure that machineries for industries are produced in the country to run industries and drive innovation and production in its entirety.

“We are already moving to a paradigm shift and the ministry wants to close all gaps between stakeholders in the STI sector in order to strengthen our economy, create jobs and wealth as well as build a resilient economy for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said.

Earlier, Chief Ibiam Oguejiofo, National Coordinator of SITOPEO-5, said that Nigeria and Nigerians needed to utilize science and innovation to meet the global challenges of productivity and getting their fair share in the global market.

Oguejiofo noted that Nigerians must also rise up to the global occasion on strategic utilization of innovation and start-ups to ensure that the country does not lose out in global economic and lose jobs as well.

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