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How to promote Nigeria’s local content technology

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Technology. Photo: Odd Hill

Sir: One of the ways Nigerian institutions can contribute to the economy of the country and justify huge budgetary allocations on them is to undertake research to develop middle level scientific and technological platform capable of moving Nigeria from dependence on foreign machinery.

Such feats can speedily serve as a stepping stone towards arming our vast army of artisans with homemade technical implements which can compete relatively with those of the developed world.

Most of the economies of the so-called Asian Tigers took off that way: starting with feeding local industries with simple tools and graduating into fully blown machinery suitable for export.

Thus Nigerian organisations can begin the quest for a breakthrough in the medical sector by, for instance, instituting graduate studies in herbal medicine.

Recently, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) presented a move suggesting that this coming together of tradition and academia is not a farfetched possibility.

Some higher institutions of learning have research and development centres where public research takes place.

There are a number of research institutes in Nigeria with each having its own area of specialisation.

Some of these institutes are Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria (RRIN), National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Nigeria Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA) and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) among others.

The Federal Government-owned industrial research institute, in a demonstration of its local content policy to drive the country’s industrialisation through its research, recently displayed an array of locally produced industrial enzymes.

Some of the industrial enzymes unveiled by FIIRO were amylase, cellulase, protease and glucoamylase.

Enzymes are generally proteinous substances produced by a living organism used to speed up (catalyse) a chemical reaction process. Non-proteinous enzymes are called ribozymes which are catalytic Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) molecules.

The use of enzymes cuts across many industries like food, juice, agricultural, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries to control and speed up reactions in order to perfectly obtain a valuable and specific final product.

This great feat achieved will no doubt ease the local production process of industries which use enzymes as raw materials or as catalysts.

This will not only boost Nigeria’s economy as local enzyme export gradually replaces foreign enzyme import, but it will strengthen our foreign exchange rate.


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