Minister of science and technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu receiving committee report on constructive collaboration of the Federal Ministry Of Science and Technology and the organised private sector; on technology transfer as a policy of state, from the director-general of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, in his office in Abuja.
By Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
As Nigeria continues to fight its way out of the economic recession, experts in the science and technology sector have continually opined that science, technology and innovation holds the key to needed seismic that will put the nation on the economic recovery path
Science, technology and innovation which cuts across many other sectors has been primed as the sector that has the capacity to jumpstart some kind of industrial revolution which would catapult the nation to the status of a developed country.
Noting the importance of science and technology for socioeconomic development, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnya Onu, on January 23, 2017, inaugurated four committees among which was the committee on the constructive collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) and organised private sector (OPS) and technology transfer as a policy of state to fast track science and technology development in Nigeria.
Receiving the committees report at the ministry in Abuja, the minister highlighted the importance of building relationships with the OPS with a view to facilitate commercialisation of research findings coming from research institutes and the academia.
He said; “We believe that by working together, we will be in a position that we make sure that many of our research findings are commercialized. This is of great importance to our nation because for so long we have depended on outside importing our needs. This is no longer acceptable. We must find a way to make sure that our research findings are commercialized.
“The only way this can be done is to make sure we use the organized private sector. So, far we have spoken to them and are happy we are forging this relationship.
Nigeria can use transfer of technology as a policy of state. We believe very strongly that it is exceptionally worth it. If we have the capacity and competence, then we will be in a position to make sure the industrialization of our economy is irreversible. If we are able to develop tech and also innovation, industrialization will be irreversible.”
Onu harped on the need to develop appropriate technology and utilize it for meeting our own needs, saying Nigeria could no longer continue to depend on outside, adding they could not help us as they are creating more problems for us, denying our people job opportunity, above all fight against poverty.
“If we are able to link acquisition of technology with state policy and pursue it vigorously, we will be in a position to develop our own technology and make sure people come into Nigeria to get certain things done.
“There will be need for us to set up another committee that will implement it. We also believe that NOTAP will continue to guide those wanting to protect their IP so that we will not lose anything,” he added.
Presenting the report earlier, the committee chairman and director of Bio-Resources Technology, Pharm. Abayomi Oguntunde, said the committee was split into two sub committees, Constructive Collaboration of Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) & Organized Private Sector; and Technology Transfer as a Policy of State because of the enormity of its assignment, adding both committees came up with terms of reference to identify areas of strength and collaborations.
“The sub-committee met and drew out terms of reference (TORs) for the main committee before their adoption for consideration.
“On the constructive collaboration of FMST and organized private sector (OPS) the adopted TORs are to identify ministry’s potential areas of collaboration with OPS; Identify relevant organized private sector with which FMST can constructively collaborate with; to clearly work out that which will ensure effective constructive collaboration between FMST and OPS; to clearly work out that modalities that will ensure effective linkages among FMST, academia (research institutes) and industries; and to articulate a policy document for sustainable collaboration
“While on the Technology Transfer as a Policy of State the adopted TORs include to interface with National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) for guidance in achieving Technology Transfer; to identify strategies and mechanisms towards successful technology transfer; to identify other steps necessary to support the actualization of technology; and to develop a policy document on technology transfer that will facilitate socio-economic development of the nation,” he stated.
The committee chair who was represented by the director-general of NOTAP, Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, noted that the area of strength identified by the various committee for science and technology development included engineering infrastructure technology, biotechnology, building and road development technology, technology management, solar technology, space science and technology, laboratory technology, leather technology, technology incubation, natural medicines, science and material science technology, renewable technology and food science.
These are the areas, he noted, the committee felt the ministry has its own strength, saying it is on this strength that the ministry would be able to approach the private sector to translate some of its flagship projects into products and services for the socioeconomic development of the nation.
He said; ‘When you’re talking about transfer, there are two areas technology can be transferred which means moving it from where it is developed to where it is needed and if you look at the Nigerian scenario the two sources of technologies are those developed in the country and those coming into the country.
“Technologies that are products of research and development, products of skills and endeavours that are normally generated from the national system of innovation that is universities, research institutions, polytechnics and colleges of education. We have universities and quite a number of them have come up with one technology or the other that could translate into products and services and they remain on the shelf, and are not transferred to where they are needed so we have to see how a relationship can be established to see that those technologies are deployed for the socio-economic development of this country.
“The second area where technologies are generated is when you allow technologies to come into the system, you’ll be able to transfer the technology. But the strategies towards enhancing technology transfer could involve licensing, joint ventures, franchising, backward integration, student internship exchange programme, public private partnership, reverse engineering and more importantly utilization of Nigerians in diaspora.”
On the report being submitted and for each of the TOR, he said there are strategies on how to implement it, adding hopefully this will make significant contributions towards changing the scenario, making science, technology and innovation a driving force for economic recovery.