The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has projected that based on the mechanisms being put in place by his ministry to minimise importation of raw materials, the country has the potential to save up to N43 trillion in five years.
Onu, in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press in the ministry, Mr AbdulGaniyu Aminu, made the forecast during an interactive session on the National Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap (2017 to 2030) at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi, Lagos.
According to him, the ministry has commenced a silent revolution that would enable the country to create more jobs and fight poverty.
Citing the situation in some less-endowed countries as Nigeria, particularly some industrialized countries whose major asset is knowledge-driven economic systems, the minister pointed out that such a revolution would also ensure that Nigeria utilized its resources and intellectual capacity to add value to its Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Onu said: “The ministry has already identified those raw materials and products that Nigeria can produce and is providing guidelines on programmes and designs to ensure that Nigerian professionals are given preference in the execution of contracts. In the next 20 years, we want Nigerian firms to compete with American firms for jobs as the interest of Nigeria will first be considered above that of an expatriate.”
On the current industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Union of Research Institutes (ASURI), the minister appealed to them to call off their ongoing strike even as he stressed the need for the union to educate their members about the roadmap.
He assured the members of the ministry’s commitment to the promoted welfare of workers, adding that plans are ongoing to formulate a policy framework that would move the country from resource-based to knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.
Onu disclosed further that over 200 organized private entities were involved in the preparation and final drafting of the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials making it all-inclusive.
Commenting on the initiative by the ministry, the Director of Science and Technology Promotion, Mr. Ekanem Udo, expressed optimism that the roadmap would stimulate research activities to ensure commercialization of research results for sustainable national economic development.
Expatiating further on the potential benefits of the roadmap to the country, he explained that it was also intended to provide a long-term science and technology framework and facilitate the creation of knowledge and also re-orientate Nigerians about the crucial roles technology plays in development.