BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN, ABUJA
Director General, National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM),Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, says Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are necessary to evolve a modern economy.
He said this during paper presentation at National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) 41st Senior Executive Course with the theme “Funding Universal Healthcare Coverage in Nigeria” on Monday in Jos.
He said that the Nigerian STI Policy of 2012 which was currently undergoing review, was aimed at creating an independent, integrated and
self-sustaining economy while giving prominence to issues of coordination, funding and collaboration.
He added that “presently, this policy differs from other extant policy because its general objective is to build a strong science, technology
and Innovation capability and capacity needed to evolve a modern economy.
“It also facilitates the acquisition of knowledge to adapt, utilise, replicate and diffuse technologies for the growth of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs).”
agricultural development, food security, power generation and poverty reduction.
“Furthermore, the Nigerian STI policy supports the establishment and strengthening of organisations, institutions and structures for effective
coordination and management of activities within a virile National Innovation System (NIS)”.
“The policy will also encourage the creation of innovative enterprises, utilising Nigeria’s indigenous knowledge and technology to produce marketable goods and services”.
“As presently structured, the policy has not sufficiently addressed the weak linkages in the NIS or exploit fully the opportunities of emerging
technologies such as Biotechnology, ICT and Nanotechnology in solving societal challenges”.
He, however, said there were agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in Nigeria working to bridge this weaknesses and enhance the policy.
Okwuoma mentioned some selected efforts of Nigeria’s STI policy to socio-economic development to include Federal Ministry of Science and
Technology’s (FMST) committee on Blue Print for Commercialisation of R&D in Nigeria.
According to him, this is with a view to ensuring that research findings remain important and relevant to the needs of Nigerians and that it should be market-driven for national development.
He added that in September 2017, the FMST, through one of its agencies, Federal Institute for Industrial Research (FIIRO), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three
indigenous companies- Tiger Foods Limited, LenofKonsult, and Lashone Links Limited.
He explained that the MoU was for commercialisation of indigenous research breakthroughs on food production technologies such as food seasoning,
ready-to-use traditional soups, dairy, soyabean, cassava processing technologies.
He noted that beyond commercialisation of these R&D breakthroughs, the MoU was to also
to help in creating awareness for the promotion and utilisation of indigenous R&D breakthroughs among Nigerians to gain their acceptability and patronage.
The Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), an agency of FMST, was equally charged to develop appropriate technology commercialisation
framework to transfer existing research outputs from knowledge centres to the industry, he said.
The NACETEM boss also said that the agency was working toward developing competitive clusters for raw materials development in the country to conserve
foreign earnings since the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved RMRDC National Strategy Document in 2016, among other efforts.
On challenges to successful implementation of STI policy, which had been attributed to weak government structures, inadequate technological infrastructure,
the director general said there had not been much of the desired gain from the policy formulation.
As a result, he said, government was making efforts to address challenges to, among other objectives, ensure that “the policy was able to reduce and eventually
eliminate the current high level of ‘stand-alone’ research efforts scattered all over the country.
“By doing this, the National Science, Technology and Innovation policy will ensure that the new STI Policy that will be produced after the review process captures all challenges and knowledge gaps that limited full implementation of the existing policy”.
“The problem of getting support from the National Assembly will also be addressed to achieve the aim of creating effective mechanisms to promote,
commercialise and diffuse local technologies for industrial development,” Okwuoma said.