The Federal Government has shown its firm resolve in growing and fine-tuning national industrial development by unveiling the National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap (NSTIR) 2030 and the recent Federal Executive Order 005 targeted at growing local indigenous technology.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu underscored this fact at a north central sensitization programme on the NSTIR with the theme ‘Catalysis of Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Competitiveness’, and the subsequent dialogue on the Presidential Executive Order 005 held in Abuja.
Addressing the management and senior staff of the parastatals under his ministry in an interactive session at the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) headquarters in Idu, he restated government’s commitment to strengthening its local capacity so as to halt capital flight resulting from importation of expatriate manpower to execute its projects, saying it was time for the nation to grow and fortify its local capacity for rapid industrialization.
“The nation has depended so much on foreign expertise to execute projects in the area of science and technology, such that when we want to build important roads, bridges, airports, seaports, refineries, dams and even our telecommunications, down to the production of crude oil as the mainstay of our economy, we depend essentially on foreigners.
“All the highly developed countries have invested intensively in STI and related research and development (R&D).
“They have created and implemented systems for harvesting and processing natural resources to produce goods and developing facilities to serve their communities.
“As a prominent country in a highly competitive world in which advances and application of STI determine national wealth and affect the livelihood of citizens, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind,” he said.
The minister explained that South Korea spends over 4.5 per cent of its GDP on innovation, adding Nigeria should imbibe same step to achieve great results.
In his remarks, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Bitrus Nabasu, said the roadmap was an initiative by the ministry, which when fully implemented would take the lead to engineer industrial revolution in the country.
He said the north-central sensitization programme was the fifth in the series and the next one would be in the South West, since there had been previous visits to four other zones in the country.
Earlier in his presentation, the director of science, technology and promotion department of the ministry, Mr Ekanem Udo listed the objectives of the roadmap to include to provide a long-term science and technology framework, support mechanisms for industrial revolution in Nigeria; to facilitate the creation and acquisition of knowledge for production, adaption, replication, utilization and technologies to support Nigeria’s technological and sustainable development aspirations.
Others include to support the establishment and strengthening of organisations, institutions, structures and processes for rationalization of decision making and coordination and management of STI activities within an institutionalized national innovation system; and to encourage and promote the creation of innovative enterprises that can beneficially utilize Nigeria’s indigenous knowledge and technologies to produce marketable goods and services that compete with others in the global market.
The objectives also aimed to coordinate and support the development of science and technology infrastructure to enable significant research for production of methodologies, models and data to support Nigeria’s socio-economic development plans.
Similarly, in his remarks at the dialogue on the Presidential Executive Order 005 at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) headquarters in Abuja, the minister said the order would improve the quality of life of Nigerians by industrializing the country, creating employment and making Nigerians to be self-reliant.
According to him, the Executive Order No 5 will transform Nigerians beyond what anybody can imagine as it took into cognizance positive experience of other countries, saying it is not restricted to experts in engineering and technology alone but all professionals in different fields describing it as evolutionary process that would make Nigeria to be the best and self-confident.
Onu said the nation is endowed with intelligent people whose talents are not being utilized, even as he charged journalists to publicise the executive order to all Nigerians, adding many small-scale industries would be transformed into medium-scale with the new order.
In his contribution, the president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Adekunle Mokwelu, charged Nigerian engineers to propagate the Executive Order 5 being driven by Onu, describing him as a deep river flowing in momentous silence.
He said no country develops without science and technology, predicting Nigeria would change in the next five years if everybody owned the order.