Abuja – The Federal Government says it will close all technology gaps to advance national development.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
He said all agencies under the ministry would be fully engaged, particularly the National Office for Technology and Acquisition Promotion (NOTAP), to fast-track development in the country.
“NOTAP is working very hard; we have the national technology acquisition promotion initiative.
“We are going to use that initiative to close technology gaps that we have in the country.
“There is a lot of technology gaps almost in all sectors.
“So, NOTAP we help us .We have a baskets of incentives, some will come from NOTAP, some will come from ministry of trade investment and some will come from ministry of finance.
“ These are incentives that will promise the company that come into Nigeria with the aim not only to make profits but also to transfer to allow Nigerians to acquire the technology.“
Onu said the Federal Government, represented by the ministry, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NASCO Foods Limited, Jos, for commercial production of high nutrient density biscuits for the National School Feeding Programme.
According to him, the MoU indicates the Federal Government’s commitment in keeping to its campaign promise to provide quality education in the country.
“The MoU was meant to provide a strategic guide for the collaboration between the Ministry, Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi, and Nasco Foods Limited, Jos, on commercial production of High Nutrient Density Biscuits.
“The initiative was an innovation of FIIRO for the National School Feeding Programme in the spirit of Public-Private Partnership being promoted by the government.
“This is based on the realisation that an institute on its own cannot make the much desired impact without collaborating with relevant organisations.
“With this collaboration, jobs and wealth will be created, while the national GDP will be enhanced through the productive sector of the economy,“ the minister said.
Onu stated that the choice of Nasco Foods Limited in the partnership is based on the company’s integrity and experience in the industry.
The minister said the Project Development Institute (PRODA) had a crucial role to play in innovation, adding that the ministry had given the institute the mandate to produce pencils.
“We consume pencils in millions considering primary school pupils, artists, and architects that use pencil and all the component parts of pencil are in Nigeria.
“What we want is to use our own raw materials to produce all the component parts for making the pencil, because that is how we can create the jobs.
“If you bring in the machines and the parts from outside, you are not creating jobs.
“If you have to process, add value to our own locally available raw materials, then you will create a large pool of jobs.
“After that is done, we will now look at those machines to redesign and produce in Nigeria.
“That (way) again, we create a new set of jobs,’’ Onu said.
He affirmed that technology was the way to go for Nigeria if it was to diversify its source of revenue and the economy.
The minister expressed optimism that the success of the projects would encourage Nigerian entrepreneurs to stay and do business in the country. (NAN)