BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has declared that that the over reliance on oil and gas has made it difficult for Nigeria’s economy to grow in view of emerging realities.
This is as Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, has said investments in science research institutions will help in reviving the country’s economy.
Onu, who spoke when he visited Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt, said the Chemical Equipment and Machinery Development Institute (CEMDI) is a part of the process to build a knowledge based economy that will sustain the country.
The minister said, “The decision has been made to make Nigeria an innovation driven economy. We are determined to work hard to ensure this succeeds.
“If there is a problem with oil, we will still strive. For us to do this, we need to build capacity, look inwards and use our natural resources in ways that will improve our economy.”
He stated that Rivers State plays a very important role in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy.
Onu said, “We want the institute to be a centre of excellence in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy. The results of the research will be available to the private sector. We will be in a position to grow our economy.”
In his response, Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, stated that a diversified economy will create employment opportunities for the people.
Wike said, “We must sustain the development of technology for the growth of the country. I urge that we begin to use research reports from science institutes to attain the desired growth.
“The development of relevant machinery and equipment will help create jobs locally and enhance the economy.”
The governor commended the minister of Science and Technology for establishing the Chemical Equipment and Machinery Development Institute in Port Harcourt.
He said that the minister has exhibited maturity by siting the project in Rivers State, pointing out that other Ministers would have been influenced by political considerations.
Wike directed the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority to liaise with the Ministry of Science and Technology for the allocation of land for the institute.