The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has said that Nigeria has made a tremendous breakthrough in import reduction, by cumulatively saving N5.03 trillion from 2017 to 2020.
The Minister made the statement at the closing ceremony of the STI EXPO 2022 in Abuja as he quoted based on the data by the United Nations Harmonised System Code and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Onu said that due to advancement in STI, the nation has become a home for start-ups, as technology has been transferred to many of the nation’s MSME’S (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).
“Nigeria has become a home of start-ups. Using one of our agencies, the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), which has branches in all the States of the Federation, technologies developed locally are transferred to many of our entrepreneurs. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are springing up in many parts of the country.”
He added that in the past six years, the country has made a significant breakthrough in providing remedies to major diseases in form of drugs and medicine derived from our indigenous natural ingredients.
He further said the country has made a lot of progress in the development of new drugs and they are at different levels of certification including clinical trials.
In the areas of agriculture and food security, Onu said that the country’s efforts are highly commendable as he added that through research and innovation, efforts are ongoing to provide food security as well as agro raw materials for our industries.
The Minister said that Nigerian youths have been encouraged to actively participate in the STI sub-sector through studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
On gender balance and sensitivity, He said; “We embarked on gender-sensitive programmes to make STI inclusive, so as to improve the participation of girls and women in scientific research and innovation activities.”
Earlier, in a goodwill message the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said STI has been helpful in the production of solar panels to provide electricity to rural primary health care centres.
He added that inter-ministerial cooperation is needed to achieve meaningful breakthroughs in the delivery of healthcare services to Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Minister had earlier disclosed that Nigeria is ready to collaborate with the Republic of Sierra-leone in order to solidify the relationship between both countries in order to develop STI.
The minister stated this when he received his Sierra-Leonean counterpart Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie in his office on Thursday, in Abuja.
Onu said that Africa has many young people with tremendous potential, who can be equipped with the necessary skills to enable them to use our enormous natural resources to transform the economy.
In his words “All the continent that have developed always comes to Africa to take our resources to develop themselves. And the question is can’t we use the same resources, which other people take from us to develop our own country”.
He emphasised the need for African countries to come together, and share experiences that can add value to our enormous resources to develop the African continent.
He further stated that Nigeria’s economy is diversified and yet need to deepen its diversification to enable it to grow its domestic products which will help the country’s GDP to rise, this he added will help the country to create jobs, employment, and wealth for our people.
The Minister further stated that the essence of Expo 2022 is to facilitate the commercialization of research findings, and also provide platforms whereby all researchers, inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs meet together with investors to know how to convert research findings into products and services.
Earlier, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education to Sierra-lone, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie said the purpose of his visit is to deepen collaboration between both countries in areas of STI and Higher Education.
He further said that his country could learn a lot from Nigeria’s expertise in STI development.