In order to improve on the current level of technological advancement and further promote research and development in the country, Nigeria’s minister for Science and Technology, Professor Ogbonnaya Onu has called on venture capitals and angel investors to invest in the economy.
Onu noted that the funding requirement for research and development in the country is beyond what banks and financial institutions can do, therefore the need for both local and foreign venture capital and angel investors.
Speaking at a policy dialogue with the private sector organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group in Lagos yesterday, the Minister of Science and Technology said urged the organised private sector to stake their investments in R&D.
He stated that it is discomforting that some private sector businesses rely essential on technology to drive their businesses and “do not even consider investments in research and development as a worthwhile venture.
“They rather prefer to invest in aquiring imported and existing technologies at prohibitive costs, which routinely undermine their competitive advantage when macroeconomic conditions change.
“It is clear to me that any business that relies on imported technology cannot guarantee a bright and certain future” he said adding that the country cannot grow and improve on research output with excessive and exclusive reliance on government budgets.
The minister noted that the capital structure of Nigerian banks makes investment in projects with long gestation periods such as R&D difficult, saying “to ignite the kind of revolution in R&D funding we advocate, there is need for more venture capital firms to look in the direction of start-up technology firms.”
According to him, if the government and the private sector collaborate in funding R&D, “a single breakthrough that is commercialised could drastically reduce revenue outlays for imports of materials, therby saving scarce foreign exchange resources that will stabilize our external balance through increased foreign reserves.”