The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has called on members of the Technical Advisory Committee to put the interest of the country first in the discharge of their duties to the country.
He made this call while inaugurating the first meeting of the committee in his office in Abuja.
Onu reminded the Committee members that Nigeria as a nation first identified the important role of science and technology as far back as 1986 when it came up with the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy which was revised several times with the last revision taking place in 2013.
According to him, “it took 28 years on February 18, 2014 for the NRIC to be inaugurated. Yet this vital Council never met until January 7, 2016, 30 years after the policy came into existence for the council to hold its first meeting”.
Dr. Onu further reminded members of the promise of President Buhari to all Nigerians that he will support the development of science and Technology in the country in addition to the pledge to secure the nation, grow the economy, provide jobs for the people and uphold the rule of law.
All these, according to him, can only be achieved if the committee give utmost commitment to its assignment. “As we deliberate today, it is important that we rededicate ourselves to greater love for our country and come up with decisions that will help guide the National Research and Innovation Council in its difficult but very important assignment of effectively directing research and innovation in our dear country.”
The Membership of the Technical Advisory Committee is made up of fifteen ministries of the Federal Government and the representatives of the Organised Private Sector under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Science and Technology. The ministries are: Science and Technology, Information, Communication Technology, Agriculture and Rural Development. Others are Trade and Investment, Education, Health, Works, Finance, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Petroleum Resources, Environment, and Water Resources.
He urged the Committee to also ensure, through its dedication, commitment and wealth of experience that the dream of making Nigeria become the technological hub of Africa is realised speedily within the shortest possible time.
NIGERIA IS READY TO COLLABORATE WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
The Director-General of the INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY Dr. Nyukiya Amano had paid a coutesy call to the Hon. Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu on Tuesday 15th March, 2016.
The Chairman/CEO of the National Atomic Energy Commission, Nigeria, Dr. Franklin E. Osaisai, introducing the Director General, stated that Nigeria is a member of IAEC since 1964 and the first visit of the IAEA to Nigeria was in December, 2009 for collaborating with the country to intensify nuclear technology.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY stated that the purpose of the current visit is to further enhance the partnership in the area of Medicine, Agriculture, Electricity and other uses of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
He noted that the IAEA had helped some West African countries in training and capacity building in diagnosing Ebola virus and now Zika virus.
The Director-General further requested that Nigeria need to enact domestic laws to gurantee safety, security and proper regulations on the use of nuclear technology.
The Honourable Minister, in his remark thanked the Director-General for the visit and assured him that Nigeria is ready to collaborate with the IAEA to create job, enhance productivity and develop the economy in general.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO UTILIZE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLGY TO COMBAT POVERTY IN NIGERIA.
The Buhari led administration is fully committed in developing on the existing technology sector to achieve job and wealth creation in Nigeria. The Honourable Minister Science and Technology Dr Ogbonnaya Onu established this, during a courtesy visit to the Minister today by the Mr Philippe Scholtes, Managing Director Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division (UNIDO) and his team.
Addressing the delegation, Onu emphasised on key areas of Science and Technology, which is establishing biotechnology to harness food technology that will add value to our rural dwellers. Through Federal Government improvement of Science and Technology sector, he said, Nigeria will be able to curb rural urban migration, which will in turn pull its citizenry out of poverty.
He further reiterated that Science and Technology remains an important instrument in national development, with the view that in the next ten years the sector will become an economic hub for upcoming industrialist and stakeholders in technology sector.
According to the Minister, for a nation to develop and be an economic hub there is a need to develop food-processing technology where food preservation forms part of what adds value to growing revenues for our rural dwellers. Food Processing, he pinpointed is vital to job and wealth creation among our rural populace in Nigeria.
The Dr Onu commended UNIDO, for their support in global development, as well as their policies and programmes in Nigeria, stating that partnership between UNIDO and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is one that will grow in strength most especially in the area of biotechnology innovations, which will improve our food technology sector.
In his opening remarks Mr Philippe Scholtes, informed the Minister of UNIDO’s focus on inclusive and sustainable industrial development, which aids industrial alleviation process at the rural communities. This alleviation process, he said, is an inclusive policy beneficial to the rural women, youths and children population in Nigeria.
He acknowledged the fact that their focus is also an environmentally sustainable programme, which cuts across the parameters of Science and Technology sector. In addition, he stated that UNIDO is pious in consolidating the old technology resources in establishing small hydropower energy, where by waste will be converted to wealth. He also laid emphasis on strength of cooperation in this area, with the view to see sustainable development goals in achieving its objectives.
The managing Director, canvassed for technical assistance from the Federal Government in the area of establishing biotechnology, which will in turn lift Science and Technology sector in Nigeria.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PARTNERS WITH WORLD BANK TO DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY.
The Federal Government is positioning itself to occupy its place in the community of nation’s by focusing on key areas of great importance that will bring happiness to Nigerians and reposition the Nigerian economy to play a vital role in the West African Region. This came on the heels of a courtesy call of the Country Director for Nigeria and Coordinating Director for West African Regional Integration Programme(World Bank) Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, to the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Dr Ogbonnaya Onu today in his office .
The Minister while addressing the Country Director stated that the Buhari led administration is focusing her attention on diversification of the economy in key sectors. This he said is the thrust of the current administration’s agenda for Nigerians, whereby our Gross Domestic Product will greatly improve in areas such as education, security, job creation, governance that will in turn become boosters of our growing economy.
Onu speaking, reiterated governments efforts in redirecting our mono-product economy from the oil and gas sector, by getting Nigerians to become more productive on issues that will add value to the exploitation of the natural resources of our nation. Stating that this is where the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is re-directing its focus on.
Our responsibility in Science and Technology he said is to ensure that the natural resources of the nation when effectively and efficiently utilized will be beneficial to Nigerians. These in turn will be very helpful in diversifying the economy, with areas of focus in agriculture and solid minerals, and that technology innovations will become vital and critical driving force in these key sectors.
The Ministry, he said, is refocusing in adding value to the production process, not only in the urban areas but also in the rural areas of the country where most Nigerians live. To achieve these feats, there will be great improvements in the technology process of production that will be put in place across the country. That the value added is what will ensure that the economy grows astronomically and jobs in turn be created.
He further stated that, the Ministry is now linking research institutes with industries, so that the researches that will be done will be dependent on the needs of the nation. These linkages and researches will be very beneficial to the immediate and future needs of our nation. In order to achieve these, discussions are already underway with the organized private sector, such as Nigerian Economic summit group, Small Scale Industrialists Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Engineering Association.
Dr Onu, in his speech emphasised that innovation plays a pivotal role in effectively mobilizing Nigerians in one direction, so that creative ideas do not end in book- shelves textbooks libraries and laboratories. Rather creative ideas would be translated into products and services that will contribute to the GDP of the nation, by creating new jobs and wealth will move Nigeria out of poverty.
He commended the World Bank’s efforts and support to Nigeria, in key areas such as agriculture, power, solid minerals and unemployment. With the view that this administration is willing to collaborate with Development Partners in diversify the economy of our nation.
Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, in his opening address, expressed World Bank’s aspirations and readiness to support the Buhari led administration by focusing in developing key areas of the economy in sectors such as power, education, health, and social safety nets programme.
He further stated that World Bank in conjunction with other Development Partners to launch the Rapid Recovery and Peace keeping Assessment Programme for the North East in order to provide inputs to the Federal Government for formulation of development programmes for the North East.
These programmes when implemented he said, will address the problem of political dimension, security dimension, humanitarian dimension, as well as development dimension. An exercise he hopes to complete in the next two months, where they will mobilise resources to support the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the affected communities.
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