By Miriam Humbe
The President has said that the Federal Government is committed to partnering with the private sector on science, technology and innovation to ensure that the sector plays a vital role in advancing the frontiers of knowledge for nation-building.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this on Monday when he declared open the five day Science and Technology exhibition, Expo 2020 organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, (FMST) at the Eagle Square in Abuja.
To achieve this, Buhari said: ”Government will continually support the creation of intervention funds to strengthen research and development, human capacity building programmes and collaboration with the organized private sector.
”We will continue to work towards the realisation of the National Research and Innovation Fund. I am aware, this Fund will help promote research activities in our country,” he said.
The exhibition is themed: Enhancing The Growth Of A Diversified Economy Through Science And Technology”.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu thanked the President for the many efforts in promoting STI, including recognizing the sector as being at the centre of all economic activities under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
Onu revealed that in the last six months of the second term of President Buhari, the STI sector helped create over 900,000 jobs while data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that Nigeria saved over N1 trillion in the importation of raw materials in 2017 and 2018.
”The data for 2019 is yet to be released. Patents from scientists and engineers, who passed through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), an agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, have continued to increase.
”In 2015, the first year of the Buhari administration, it was only six. In 2016; it was 16, 50 in 2017, 55 in 2018 and 57 in 2019,” The Minister said.
On Covid-19, Dr Onu said this is a wake-up call to intensify efforts to manufacture goods locally and patronize made-in-Nigeria products.
”The Presidential Executive Order No. 5 and the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development in the country already passed by the Federal Executive Council will help in realizing this noble objective,” he said.