By Nkechi Isaac |
Technology has been identified as one of the major sponsors of national development. It is the driver of rapid industrialisation especially providing support for development for countries because it drives major sectors of the national economy.
Nigeria is not left out in the drive to grow its economy by embracing technology especially at the period the world is preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which would be driven by emerging technologies.
In preparing the nation for the oncoming revolution, the government through the relevant ministries met during the 18th National Council on Science, Technology and Innovation (NCSTI) in Abuja to deliberate on policies and framework that would aid national development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the council meeting with the theme, ‘Utilization of Science, Technology and Innovation for Post COVID-19 Socio-Economic Recovery and Sustainability’, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan, said the federal government and the organised private sector (OPS) would intensify efforts in the adoption and deployment of science, technology and innovation in building a strong, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy.
He averred that the OPS could not be left out in the quest of using technology to stimulate the nation’s economy.
“We cannot forget but mention the role of the OPS. They are to explore ways of partnering with our various research institutes and agencies in commercialising viable products for the good of society,” he said.
He added it was essential that Nigeria recovers from the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
He explained that the council is responsible for charting the course of nation building through effective deployment of STI in all sectors of national life.
“The quest for lasting solutions to the scourge of COVID-19 has brought to the fore the importance of STI in addressing the challenges bedevilling human growth and development,” he added.
He urged the participants, delegates and participants at the council to re-evaluate priorities and strategies to find innovative solutions to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akpan called for synergy among tiers of government and the private sector, to enhance effective domestication of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap (2017-2030) in order to achieve a national rebirth.
Some of the key observations noted at the end of the conference include the need for wide and continuous public awareness on the talented young scientists of Nigeria (TYSON) programme and the engagement of state commissioners for science for their buy-in into the 774 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential Awards (774-YONSPA) and the urgent need for the immediate take-off of the National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF).
Others are the need to improve the funding level of the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Science and Technology (S&T) Park Project in order to facilitate its early completion; the need for the composition of an inter-ministerial committee of all the relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for the development of a policy on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) warfare of the National Safety and Security as well as inclusion of the chemical safety and security awareness into the chemistry curriculum in the secondary and tertiary institutions.
The communiqué also stressed that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) through her relevant agencies/parastatals have the capacity to train artisans and indigenous fabricators to mass produce agro-allied equipment for distribution to all states of the federation in line with government’s agenda on food security and SDGs 2.
It also commended the efforts of the ministry and its parastatals/agencies towards the fight against COVID-19 pandemic such as the development of raw materials for the production of face masks, face shield, medical isolation gown/coveralls/aprons, surgical gloves and non-slip rubber boots, as well as lovastatin from mushroom specie for the pharmaceutical industries and the development of simulation suits for design of processes and equipment and additive manufacturing (AM) as one of the reliable and sustainable means to curb the effects of the pandemic in the country.
The communique further highlighted the need for the commencement of building and launching of NigeriaSat-3 and NigeriaSat-1 to replace the NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X which have outlived its lifespan; capacity building of researchers on access to grants for research and development efforts amongst other key recommendations.
It said recommendations of the technical committee was presented to the council chaired by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and the meeting had in attendance commissioners’ of states and permanent secretaries in charge of science and technology, and other related ministries as well as directors in the ministry and directors-general/chief executive officers of FMST agencies and other cognate MDAs, OPS and professional bodies.