Nigerian government to review science technology, innovation policy 

Chioma Eche, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has reiterated its commitment to review the current Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) policy to accommodate and meet the needs of the 21st century and proffer solutions to teeming challenges facing Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu gave the assurance at the ongoing 19th National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation in Abuja, Nigeria, themed” investment in research and development: a necessary tool to improving Nigeria’s economy”.

The Minister further said that the annual council which is the highest decision-making body on Science policies in Nigeria will help accelerate economic development and give the country a global competitiveness advantage.

The Federal Government will continue to support the development of key and groundbreaking scientific innovations through policies and harmony research efforts from different Research Institutions across the federation,” he said.

According to the Minister, Nigeria is determined to be a major global player in space technology, adding that Nigeria is the first sub-Saharan African country to launch and develop space technology.

Dr. Onu further said that research institutes and agencies under the Ministry will continue to develop innovations to boost the agricultural industry and help farmers achieve more agricultural yield and reduce post-harvest losses.

He stressed the need for the country to be self-reliant, patronise indigenous goods and services and also encourage export and achieve a favourable balance of trade.

A good balance of trade he added, will improve the overall socio-economic fortunes of Nigerians.

On youth empowerment, Dr. Onu urged youths to embark on new business start-ups, because all large industries today started as SMEs.

Earlier in a goodwill message, the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Research Institutions, Mr.Jafaru Mohammed, appreciated the synergy among the scientific ecosystem in Nigeria saying that more efforts would be put into scientific innovations.

On behalf of the diplomatic corps, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Nigeria, His Excellency David Nieves Velásquez Caraballo, said that the development of STI in Nigeria is a positive development and pledged that his country will continue to work closely with Nigeria for mutual benefits in different areas including STI.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi in a keynote address, described the theme for this year’s event ‘apt” considering the negative effect of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of both developing and developed nations of the world.

He charged Scientists, Researchers and Innovators to rise up and provide verifiable statistics of the various progress made so far by Nigerians in STI

According to Barrister Abdullahi, despite gains made in the past years, Nigeria still remains low in ranking of the global innovation index, 2021, this he added is as a result of lack of data activities in the Innovation Space.

”It is to note that in spite of the gains made in the past few years, Nigeria remains no 117th in the global innovation index 2021 according to the world intellectual property organization WIPO report for this year. The report ranked Mauritius as first in Africa in global innovation index, followed by Kenya by 85, Cape Verde 89 Egypt 94, Namibia 100, Malawi 107, Madagascar 110, Zimbabwe 113, and Burkina Faso 115.”

He stressed that the report was attributed to Nigeria’s low ranking due to a lack of data on activities in the innovation space.

He further stated that Nigerians have made giant strides in Inventions and Innovations but are not adequately captured as data from relevant Institutions.

The Minister, therefore, called on the Nigerian government to invest in Research and Development to spur industrialization and improve the livelihood of Nigerians.

In a goodwill message by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwolu ably represented by Mr. Hakeem Fahm, the Commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovation Lagos State said that funding of research and development has to be sustained in order to boost STI.

Also in a keynote message on socio-economic and industrial growth in developing nations, a Professor, of Engineering Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Stephen Odi-Owei said changing problems require changing solutions, therefore, called on the Nigerian government to think outside the box to address the issues of crime, corruption, healthcare, education, water, agriculture, air pollution, food safety, electricity, using Science, technology and innovation.

He further called on the Nigerian government to reward innovation to motivate innovators in the country.