Vanguard (Lagos)

16 January 2013

Nigeria: We Will Create Wealth Through Indigenous Technology - Science and Tech Minister

Minister of Science & Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey says the ministry is aiming at generating millions of jobs and creating wealth through indigenous technology.

The minister sated this at the occasion of NOTAP -SMEDAN national exhibition and Techmart on Agric, Agro-Allied and Bio-Technology sub-sector held in Abuja.

He said millions of jobs and wealth could be generated through indigenous technology but requires patronage from Nigerians for this to materialize, saying that the ministry had set up some machineries in motion to achieve this by creating a large pool of technology based SMEs and commercialization of research and development.

According to him, the effort was in response to the calls by President Jonathan to use technology to transform Nigerian economy.

He said that the event was one of his ministry's efforts to achieve both the commercialization of matured research and development, R&D results and also the creation of large pools of technology based SMEs, adding that the event was aimed at showcasing proven technologies and innovations in the sub-sector and in particular available agro-processing machineries and equipment that can add value to agricultural products.

Equipments assembled at the event were produced by indigenous technologists, researchers, designers and fabricators, drawn from different part of the country.

Participants include: All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, farmers, entrepreneurs as well as beneficiaries of the "Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria", YOUWIN programme.

"Our collective effort is to respond to the calls of Mr. President, to generate jobs and create wealth through our indigenous technology outputs. I note the opportunities awaited by this event and encourage you all to patronize these technologies as our contribution to the socio-economic development of this nation," he said.

The event among other things was organized to provide a platform for farmers, YOUWIN beneficiaries, researchers, manufacturers of agro-processing machineries and equipment and other stakeholders to interact for their mutual benefits and overall economic development of the nation, to evolve a strategy to reduce the high incidence of postharvest losses in the agricultural sector and to stimulate the establishment of a linkage between industry and research institutions.

Speaking on the importance of the programme, the DIRECTOR General of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP, Dr.Umar Bindir said over 200 research organizations is enough knowledge infrastructure to move Nigeria to the next level. He said most of what they are doing are either on the shelf or in the backyard., which cannot translate to growth if the are not showcased.

"This function is attempting to connect this knowledge components with industry. To do this is a valley of debt and in this valley of death you need a bridge to cross it. You need people to know what had happened, we need to produce quality things, do them at the right price and package them well.

"This event is bringing stakeholders together, demonstrating to the world that Nigeria is ready to fly and we will fly. We the technology promoters will not stop until we see that other countries of the world come here to learn," he added.

Dr. Bindir also disclosed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC had approved a national research and development fund as part of efforts to encourage indigenous technology and development. In addition, he said Nigeria had began to see the emergence of venture capital, risk funding and people who are interest to look at technology that is available in Nigeria.

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