The Federal Government's Industrial Revolution Plan has received a boost, with the recent inauguration of Nigeria's first Technology and Innovation Support Centre at the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abuja.
The Centre, which is the product of a collaborative effort between the Ministry and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), will provide Research and Development institutions, Small and Medium Enterprises, students and industries, among others, access to valuable technology information. It is the sixth TISC in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking during the inauguration of TISC, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, noted that the Centre would provide the basis for building the important and growth-enabling culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students; enable SMEs to create strategic partnerships; serve as catalysts in clustering small businesses and attracting foreign partners and investors.
He said, "Our Industrial Revolution Plan is based on linking industrials skills development and innovation to the areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage. When we do this effectively, we will become one of the best developed economies in the world in no time. That is why we have embraced the establishment of this Centre. This is critical for the country and I am very delighted to be part of this positive development.
"And now that we have the support of WIPO, the TISC will make available millions of information and data to inventors and innovators which they can use very easily to enhance their industrial productivity, and in fact, other sectors of our economy. Also, the Centre will make available over 30,000 information or data that can be used by researchers in our universities."
He added, "This is the time for us to link research and innovation to our industries and make them far more relevant to our economic transformation agenda, job creation and wealth generation. This project is not only for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. It will also help large companies in an existing area to increase their productivity by enhancing the quality of their products through innovation.
"For SMES, this programme will provide them with relevant information on how they can improve on their products, enhance their productivity and develop new innovations that are relevant and peculiar to our own environment."
The Minister added that plans were underway to replicate the TISC in nine industrial centres across the country, in line with the Ministry's Industrial Revolution Plan.
He said, "This is just the beginning of a journey. We will work together with the WIPO to make the TISC readily available in order to share information with as many Nigerians as possible, including our universities, researchers, inventors and innovators. Also, we want to make our innovators far more relevant to the economy and, of course, make sure that their products are commercialised.
"The is the first Centre we are inaugurating .However, our intention is that by next year, we want to see how we can replicate this in the nine industrial cities across the country.. But later, when we have the funding, we will also take it to the universities that will use them."
In his remarks, the WIPO Project Coordinator, Innovation and Technology Support Section, Mr. Ituku Elangi Botoy, said that the TISC would provide Nigerian enterprises with up-to-date, innovative information to boost their productivity and create jobs.
He said, "All over the world, developing countries face two major problems of how to increase the quality and quantity of their manufactured products, and create jobs for the majority of their teeming population. Therefore, WIPO has developed the TISC programme, taking into consideration the fact that most member countries currently face these major challenges.
"By putting information about millions of scientific innovations in the hands of entrepreneurs, TISC will enable Nigerians meet the requirement of increasing the quality and quantity of the country's manufactured products and create more jobs for the citizens."