‘Economy buckling under over-dependence on imported goods’
•Minister advocates deployment of research, devt in real sec
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonna Onu, has decried over-dependence on importation of goods which weakens currency, creates unemployment and consistently reduce the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), as a major factor affecting economic growth.
According to him, the nation has over the years relied on income from commodity products whose prices are externally determined. To address some of the lingering challenges in the real sector, the Minister announced government’s readiness to achieve a knowledge-based economy by deploying the use of science and technology.
Onu explained that the move had become imperative judging by the way most developed economies have transformed their economy prioritizing investment in science and technology. Onu said it was time to rebuild the nation by investing in science, technology and innovation in a bid to bring about the much needed creativity to transform Nigeria from a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy.
“The Federal Government has issued Executive Order Five. Under this, government shall patronize locally made products. But the products must be of high standard. Preference shall be given to Nigerian Professionals before an expatriate is considered for any project or contract. This implies that operators in the private sector must invest in research and development in order to meet international standard. They should collaborate with the universities in manpower training.
“We must emphasise science, technology and innovation; help our people to be more creative and commercialize our research findings. This is the new direction and that is why the federal ministry of science and technology is working very hard to lead us into an economy that is innovation and knowledge driven,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the Federal Government has renewed its determination to leverage on patronage of made in Nigeria products and giving preference to Nigerian Professionals for all government projects in a decisive move to grow the economy.
Besides, government has advised the private sector to invest in research and development as well as collaborate with the academia for training of manpower that will drive economic activities in Nigeria.Speaking at the commissioning of a Polyurethane Laboratory donated to University of Lagos by Vitafoam, the Minister commended the company’s management for the gesture, saying that it was done in the spirit of nation building.
According to him, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Government has issued Executive Order Five which he said has made it mandatory for all government parastatals and agencies to patronize made in Nigeria products without compromising standards.
In his address, the company’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Taiwo Adeniyi explained that the donation of a polyurethane laboratory to the University of Lagos was in fulfillment of the promise made to the University authority by the Chairman of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Dr. Dele Makanjuola at the 2016 Scientific Conference of the University where he initiated the need for such in Nigeria.
“We make bold to say that the equipment in this polyurethane laboratory is at par with any similar laboratory anywhere in the world. The choice of polyurethane laboratory as a CSR project was not merely for Vitafoam’s interest in the polyurethane industry. It was to honour and promote the efforts of Nigerian researchers and ensure their work is able to both compete well on the global stage and find relevance in industry.
“Among the key government agencies and parastatals that will find use for the services of this polyurethane laboratory include the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) – though they are currently working on one that will serve for different types of auto parts. Others are the Federal Ministry of Environment, office, the National Environmental and Enforcement Agency (NESREA), and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“It is expected that this specialized laboratory will be run as a commercial enterprise to generate revenue to fund other projects within the University. This polyurethane laboratory has a significant role to play in the federal government’s Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), and recently the medium term Plan for Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), said Adeniyi. He appealed to the Federal Government to continually evolve policies that engender ease of doing business in Nigeria in order to sustain enhance performance of the private sector.
According to him, government should endeavour to patronize products of the company because they are highly competitive, even as he assured Vitafoam’s shareholders of value on their investment.Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe commended Vitafoam for the donation. Ogundipe explained that the laboratory would be fully utilized by the students and it will be a major research instruments for other Nigerians and international community.
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