The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said that progress made by Nigeria in Biotechnology will have significant impact on the economy.

Speaking while inaugurating the National Biotechnology Policy Review Committee on Friday in Abuja, Dr. Onu said refined cotton seedlings developed by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) is highly resistant to attack from worms and has high yielding capacity, adding that this will help in rejuvenating our dying cotton industries.

Nigerian textile industry he added, used to be the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria and was very important to wealth creation, but was incapacitated by worm disease. He further said that with the discovery of high yielding and worm resistant seedlings, there is hope for the resuscitation of our moribound textile firms.

The Minister stressed that biotechnology is critical to the development of technology and other sectors in the Country, adding that its proper development would increase the Gross Domestic Product of the Country.

Dr. Onu further said that present administration’s policy thrust to discourage the importation of food into Nigeria can only be possible through biotechnological input.

’’ For our industries to function properly, with our desire for irreversible industrialization, research and innovation work in biotechnology is essential’’ he added.

Dr. Onu also disclosed that the National Biotechnology Development Agency, (NABDA) has started research work on the production of vaccines that would be helpful in protecting children from life- threatening ailments.

While saying that biotechnology is essential to all facets of life from Defence, renewable energy and Agriculture, he added that the Ministry will continue to research so as to transform the economy and boost its Gross Domestic Product.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Birtus Bako Nabasu, said the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) was established under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to promote biotechnology development in the Country.

According to Nabasu, the National Committee on Review of the 2001 National Biotechnology Policy was established for the coordination of the implantation of the review. The committee comprises the Chairman and 16 members.

Mr. Nabasu further disclosed that the terms of reference of the committee are to critically look at the 2001 National Policy on Biotechnology with a view to assessing the level of implementation and also to identify gaps in the existing 2001 National Policy on Biotechnology.

He further said that the committee will study the present policy and its contradictions and identify key biotechnologies that can bring about rapid development of the country’s bio-economy.

The chairman of the Committee, Mr Abayomi Oguntunde assured that the committee will do its best to come up with viable policy that would be the pride of the country.

AbdulGaniyu Aminu

Head (Press and PR)

15th November, 2019