Minister of State for Science Technology and Innovation (STI), Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, says the role of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) in the country’s developmental equation has not been fully utilized.
Chief Ikechukwu stated this at the flag-off of the North Central National Dialogue on the Implementation of Executive Order NO.5.
He said the aim of the Dialogue by the Federal Government was part of a strategy to midwife a new renaissance that would transform Nigeria’s economic landscape from a resource base economy to a knowledge innovation-driven economy.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Monilola Udoh, the flag-off between the government and other stakeholders in Abuja said it was part of the requirements for the full implementation of Presidential Executive Order No 5 (EO5).
She said it had become necessary to establish 6 technology and innovation Centers to assist in closing the gaps in research and development works taking place in silos.
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According to Udoh, Executive Order No 5 is aimed at placing Nigerian professionals and manufacturers at the centre of the Nigerian economy.
“The technology and innovation centres established under the EO5 are designed to serve as centres of excellence with the major objectives of improving on the present understanding of the role of Science Technology and Innovation in the Socio-economic development of Nigeria.
“It is also aimed at establishing a framework for consultation, sharing experience, information and practices as well creation of a conducive environment for interaction among the scientists working on projects in different geopolitical zones of the country and internationally.”
“The centres will also serve as medium for presentation and analysis of Research Findings and Results for possible patenting and commercialization.”
She explained that the dwindling revenue base and an upsurge in the foreign exchange rate of the country, calls for serious concern, hence, the need to look inwards through STI to reverse the trend.
She said: “The continuous improvement Global Competitiveness Index for Nigeria in the global market is an important task that we must continue to pursue to enable our country to command an equitable share of export in the global market.
“The experience of COVID-19 in our economic transformation of many countries in the world including Nigeria is an example that indicates the importance of STI in Socio Economic Development of a Nation and the need to make STI play important role in Socio Economic Development of any nation.
Mrs Udoh added: “The trajectory in business and R&D are the main drivers of innovation including sound policies thereafter form good technological progress towards accelerating the goals of sustainability and shared prosperity.
“It is my strong belief that at the end of the dialogue in the 6 zones, the stakeholders will be able to come up with a strategy that will ensure that the technology and innovation centers will produce tech giants, effectively encourage peer review of researchers and promote learning of new approaches to research through interaction.
In a remark, the Director, UNESCO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Dimitri Sanga, who was represented by Dr Enang Moma, expressed optimism that Nigeria would improve on its Global Competitiveness Index, following the increased momentum on training for the Ministry staff.
Sanga, said: “UNESCO and the Ministry have kick-started collaboration in 3 key areas of STI, using STEM as building block for capacity development.”
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The UNESCO boss acknowledge that it participated in the enhancement of the revised STI policy using the 14 strategies which revolve around competitiveness and open science governance based and driven by market research.