Science, Technology Innovation: Path to boost GDP

The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology with the mandate to oversee the activities of the innovative sector of the economy has gone far to ensure that this is done. BINTA SHAMA reports.

FMST

In the course of the year 2018, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology engaged itself in every possible activities to run the dream of the federal government via this sector. The Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Christopher Onu, always came out with incentives by putting the parastatals on their toes as a means to encourage them under his watch to compete both internationally and locally.

Recently, the Ministry awarded over N2 billion of incentives to agencies on competitiveness under it’s supervision.

Incentives for achieving hard work

Out of the 17 agencies of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Federal Institute of Industrialised Research Oshodi got the star prize of N1Billion in a competitiveness Assessment.

While the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) won the second prize of N700 million and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) came third with N500 million prize respectively.

According to the minister, the Ministry took this initiative to challenge the competitive spirit of the agencies by creating a reward system for those who excelled in their assigned duties so as to ensure effective deployment of Science, Technology and Innovation to drive the economy beyond it’s present height.

“The award is to make the agencies achieve more and do their utmost best in promoting the vision and mission of the Ministry thereby using Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to increase the GDP of our dear nation,” Onu stated.

A look at some of the agencies

NILEST

The Nigerian Institute of leather and Science Technology, the only Agency with the mandate of the federal government to carry out training and research in leather and leather product technology is presently the only Agency training in the top Sahara West African region.

Adding, the Director General of the Institute Dr  Eucharia  Ngozi Oparah said “the Institute was the only one training in the top Sahara West African region, we do both formal training where we give national diploma and high national diploma and informal training where we give skill acquisition, youths empowerment and job creation training. We do it both for States, Organisations, individuals and even some of the National Assembly projects.”

She further disclosed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the 31st of October, 2018 approved the first National Leather and Leather Policy in Nigeria championed by NILEST, adding that with more hard work and achievements the Institute would partake in the coming year’s award.

RMRDC

Speaking on behalf of the Director-General, Dr Hussaini Doko Ibrahim (RMRDC), the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Protocol, Mr. Chuks Ngaha said the commitment of the DG on the primary Raw Materials has moved the Institute to the Strategic Plan 2018-2023 where issues concerning the development of secondary material which are the main source for the industrial input of the manufacturing success would be looked into as well as developing it.

“We have done a lot of policy briefs on the availability and neutralisation of primary raw materials in Nigeria, now moving forward to x-raying the factors and secondary raw materials in the country i.e those using them, what it requires to bring raw material up to the secondary stage in terms of value chain and the required material instruments and equipment in processing them and the establishment of some Institutes that are already doing so and how the activities can be enhanced and to do much more.”

Further speaking, Ngaha said the Institute coming 3rd position out of the 17Agencies in the competitiveness assessment shows the competence of the DG bearing the ship of RMRDC with a crop of well skilled professional staff and an impetus to intensify  more efforts by pushing STI to the front burner.

NBRRI

Towards the latter part of 2018, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) came up with the initiative of setting up Artisan Centers in all parts of the country in order to train young people to acquire skills and contribute to nation building.

The Minister commended NBRRI for establishing such to develop indigenous capacity of Nigerian artisans in the housing and construction industry.

“With the establishment of the Artisan Center, indigenous capacity is being strengthen to enhance the career potentials and competences of our youths to enable them have the capacity to deploy their skill in enhancing better finishing of our houses,” the Minister added.

“We should be in a position, in the near future, to export to other countries such skilled labour. We need this in our search to build a knowledge based and innovation driven economy that will be competitive and sustainable,” He added. 

He further laudth NBRRI on its recent deployment and utilization of locally sourced pozzolans as cement replacement in the road and housing construction sector, adding that “it is a clear indication that indeed our beloved nation’s journey to enduring self-reliance has begun.”

He said that this will address the issues of relying on other countries to meet many of the housing and civil construction needed especially the roads which has stifled the growth of skilled indigenous manpower and stunted the utilization of locally sourced raw materials   and technologies.

Earlier, the Director-General of NBRRI, Prof. Danladi Matawal said that “amongst of the steps pursued by me since appointment as Director-General/Chief Executive Officer is an intensification of effort at securing a permanent and befitting     property that can adequately address the accommodation needs of the staff and open up further opportunities for expansion.

Speaking on behalf of the DG, the Head of Public Relations, NBRRI Mr. Peter Mashem said in 2018, NBRRI was able to introduce a moveable 3 bedroom apartment that can be constructed within 2 days which stood out in the 2018 Science and Tech Expo held in Abuja.

Adding that the Institute in  collaboration with Hydrafoam (South Africa) produced a more durable, efficient yet cheaper laterite Block-making machine that will further reduce the cost of building houses in Nigeria.

The challenge of the Institute is changing the mind set of Nigerians to patronize indigenous materials in the building and road sector so as to save the Country foreign exchange. Another challenge of the Institute is getting to retrain Artisans, Craftsmen, etc. so that the incidence of Building collapse in Nigeria will be eliminated.

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