The nation’s quest for technological advancement had not, in the past, received the attention it deserved especially as a Ministry of Science and Technology that should have coordinated efforts in that direction had consistently played a seemingly non- descript role. It took up to 1980, 20 years after independent, for the Ministry to come into…
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The nation’s quest for technological advancement had not, in the past, received the attention it deserved especially as a Ministry of Science and Technology that should have coordinated efforts in that direction had consistently played a seemingly non- descript role. It took up to 1980, 20 years after independent, for the Ministry to come into being at all. Even then, as at 2015, as many as four agencies in the ministry had zero capital allocation in the 2015 budget. In many cases, the overhead in the recurrent expenditure was barely enough for the efficient operation of the agencies. The National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (NSTIP) which came into existence in 1986 could not be fully implemented since the lead organ to drive it, the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), took as long as 30 years to hold its first meeting. But all these are about to change as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration brings a heightened zest in this sphere of national endeavour.

With the renewed impetus in the search for alternative ways to diversify the economy, reduce poverty, protect our environment, defeat illiteracy, create jobs, recreate the middle class, check insecurity and restore honour and accountability in the conduct of government business, it is expected that economic growth, self-reliance and self-esteem, as well as the desire to compete in the global arena, will place Nigeria on its way to becoming the technological hub for Africa.

This will entail the emergence of requisite manpower equipped with the necessary technological skills that will be needed to improve productivity locally and move the nation away from being a consumer to a producer nation. This process of self-discovery, in our view, should encourage research in our universities to make them globally accepted centres of scholarship that can compete with the best centres of learning in other parts of the world. This must ensure that many branches of research institutes are either located in or affiliated with universities as this proximity will enable the tertiary institutions take their deserved positions in the continent.

To achieve this, we cannot stress enough the need to teach the children, science – related subjects in such a way that they can learn the subjects with greater ease. It is in this regard that we appreciate measures by the new administration to equip some of our primary and secondary schools with science laboratory equipment, build a Science and Technology Museum in order to showcase the nation’s rich past in technology and explain with clarity all natural phenomena, thereby raising the consciousness of our people. As a measure to bridge the gap between research findings and product commercialisation, we commend the initiative that is aimed at making current and future research findings in the universities and research institutes market-driven.

However, we think that intellectual property laws in the country must be firmed up in order to ensure that good ideas are protected. We make this recommendation realising the fact that there is a direct relationship between the number of patents granted and the level of economic development even as inventors and innovators work best in an environment where their intellectual property are recognised and protected.

We hope that with the envisaged Technology Villages in the six geo-political zones of the country and the Technology Transfer Promotion Initiative (TTPI), investors who want to manufacture goods in Nigeria and also are willing to transfer their technology to Nigerians will be encouraged with a basket of incentives made available by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology working with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.

 

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