Govt seals pact with chamber on research findings’ commercialisation
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), on Tuesday, forged a landmark partnership for the commercialisation of the results from the nation’s research centres.
The initiative is expected to include numerous research findings and innovations on the shelves of government’s 17 research agencies across the length and breadth of the nation.
At a meeting with officials of the chamber in Abuja, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, announced that one of its agencies, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) had sealed a partnership deal with NASCO for the production of high nutrient biscuit, which was a product of the agency’s research.
He noted how the fall in oil revenue in the global market had created a huge opportunity for Nigeria to diversify its economy.
He said: “I am happy to hear that you want strategic partnership with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. Just last Friday, history was made both in this Ministry and in our country also. For the first time, a food product, ready for the market was commercialised.”
The minister disclosed that his ministry entered into agreement with a food processing company, NASCO Limited based in Jos, to mass produce a high nutrient, density biscuit, a product of research and development of this Ministry. The biscuit will have the capacity to provide one third of all nutrients required for a child between the age of five and 12 years, one third in a day. He said the initiative was prompted by the finding that there is a large market for that product in Nigeria and also outside the country.
“Our interest is to make sure that ideas will now be taken into the market place and that the research we do here is market driven. We should be responding to the needs of our country. We are very committed to make sure that our economy is diversified. Since independence, every administration will always make promises of diversifying the economy.
“So far, it has not happened. This administration is committed and we want to make sure that it happens. We know that you will benefit the most if our economy is diversified. There will be so much wealth. Once we have enough wealth created in the country, there will be people who will be very eager to make sure that new products and services are in the market place, Onu explained.
He called on the chamber, and indeed the organized private sector to come in and commercialize these research findings. “Enough work has been done. One of our agencies has as many as 50 similar to the biscuit that we signed agreement for on Friday.
“The reason I said history was made is because in the past it was raw materials that we signed such agreements in. The biscuit is a food product which by the special grace of God, we will find in the market place.”
“The chamber and other members of the organised private sector operators should come. All the hard work that you have done in research and development don’t need to be repeated. All you need to do with the researches that we have now is move into the factory and start producing. We at the Ministry have repeatedly, and we say it again, that the time has come for Nigerians to patronise locally made products, because we believe that it would be very helpful for us to be in a position to bring new products into the market place if we, as Nigerians, show patriotism like many other country.”
“The Ministry of Science and Technology is moving in a new direction and this new direction is aimed at making sure that we work very closely with the organization private sector.”
He assured that henceforth, all ideas and innovations emanating from agencies under the ministry will be market driven so that the resulting products will be beneficial to all Nigerians and ensure, on a sustainable basis, job and wealth creation and ultimately, diversification of the economy.
Onu invited the chambers and others across the nation and beyond to take advantage of the opportunity and become a partner in the onerous task of enhancing the living standard and well -being of Nigerians being championed by the Buhari led administration.
President of the chamber, Tony Ejinkeonye said his organisation was willing to use its channels to accelerate the development of commerce and industry utilizing the innovations available in the ministry.
His words: “We are here to forge strategic partnership with your ministry aimed at seeking for measures that would promote accelerated development of commerce and industry through innovations and technical knowhow, to encourage the diversification of economy from oil.
“We wish to inform the Minister that ACCI is setting up the Abuja Technology Hub. This will be a forum to harness the capacity of youths of Abuja, harness available technologies and create employment opportunities in ICT. For us, it is critical to have a synergy between research and commercial application of the products your organization do. Without commercial use of any product, it will not make any sense.
“We will appreciate if we can have a kind of compendium of inventions, products that the ministry has developed over the years so that in partnership, we can find or finance commercial applications of these products. We will be willing also to partner with you to use our trade missions abroad to promote commercialization of research products from Nigerian institutions.
“In the process of the trade missions, it is possible that products in the ministry can be taken abroad to seek financing. The most important thing for us is even if you do research and invent a product, if you don’t have financing to produce the products in commercial quantities, they will still remain on the archives.”