The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has reitrated the need to encourage the commercialization of current and future research findings in the nation’s universities and research institutes as a measure to bridge the gap between research findings and products commercialization.
He contended that such commercialization would involve the protection of intellectual property through patent and ensure good ideas grow into viable products and services of immense market value to both entrepreneurs and the general public.
The minister who was speaking at a sensitization workshop and presentation of patent certificates to inventors in Abuja recently stated that the goal of the ministry was to bring up Nigerian investors to be wealthy on their own right by protecting their intellectual property and thereby making more money as well as ensuring economic growth.
“We want to make sure that our inventors protect their intellectual property so that they can make money out of it, that is what will make more people to go for invention. We want to see Nigerian inventors wealthy, if Bill Gate can be the richest man in the world through invention then we need people like Bill Gate in Nigeria.
“The missing link in our development is science and technology, if we put enough energy in science and technology, we would not depend on other countries; if we meet our needs locally we would strengthen our economy and our nation,” he said.
Onu pointed out that the nation has so many of research findings that should go into the market as quickly as possible, giving example of the high density nutrient biscuit (HDNB) produced by Nasco which he said had been taken to East Africa and was also in the process of getting a patent.
“The recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and Nasco Foods Ltd involving the production of high nutrient density biscuits with the Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) as the implementing Agency, is a good example.
“We have nutrition that we are using for those who are malnourished and for things like these we don’t need to go patent before we commercialise them; we also have nutrition for those who have sickle cell anemia,” he said.
He charged all the stakeholders in the research sector to ensure that any research finding that has gotten to the level of commercialisation gets a patent, adding it’s the only way investors can come in to commercialise.
If the commercialization is actualised, the minister added that together with the zeal to improve the nation’s science and technology sector, it would not only brighten the future of the people but would also defeat poverty, create wealth, fight illiteracy, reduce human suffering, create jobs, produce and improve the nation’s capacity for export trade, thereby strengthening both the economy and the currency through increased export earnings.
Onu also added the need to strengthen the linkage between research institutions and the universities on the one hand and on the other strengthen the linkage between industry and research institutes.
“We will support the organised private sector ector (OPC) to produce and manufacture locally those goods and products that we buy and import from abroad in large quantities, year after year.
“ The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will achieve this, through a new flagship programme: Technology Transfer Promotion Initiative (TTPI). Through this important programme, 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. The time has come for us as a nation to look inwards. We must work to be self-reliant.
“We can no longer depend on other countries to meet our basic needs. We did so in the past, today we are paying dearly for it, the result of which is very unpleasant. We could afford it when the price of crude oil was high, but now we cannot. We must stop the mistakes of the past in order to build a future that is bright and promising.
“Our way to secure a bright future is to commercialise research findings. This is the only way that the impact of research and innovation can be felt by the people as new or improved products, goods and services are found in the market for the people to buy,” he said.
The minister equally urged the encouragement of the emergence of the requisite manpower equipped with the necessary technological skills that will help improve productivity and move Nigeria away from a consumer to a producer nation.