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Stakeholders hinge economic growth on investment in technology

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The Federal Government has been urged to invest in emerging technological and biotechnological facility to improve productivity in critical sectors of the economy.

Chief Executive Officer of Katchey, Kate Isa, noted that innovations in biotechnology offers enormous opportunities for growth in the agriculture sector, pharmaceutical, breakthroughs in the health sector, crime detection and security, though still largely untapped in Nigeria.

Speaking at the unveiling of Katchey’s partnership with Thermo Fisher, in Lagos recently, Isa said there was the need to support Nigerian scientists involved in life sciences in order to help them maximise scarce resources for innovation and productivity.

She said there is a lot life science can achieve for Nigeria, including areas of medicine, pharmaceutical, food sciences and agriculture, among others, adding that the government and stakeholders must give priority to technology to drive growth.

Isa said some of the challenges experienced in life science study in the country are because less than 50 per cent of the universities and research institutes were involved in life sciences.

“Also, most funding comes from donor agencies. Government and stakeholders should give life science priority funding.

“Over the years our government has been looking up to oil for money, but biotechnology is an untapped area our government must look into. Let us set up well funded research and laboratories. How many of our universities are doing research and coming out with products that we can market? We need these products,” Isa said.

Professor of Virology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Sunday Omilabu, said Nigeria was battling to tackle some diseases which ordinarily could be tackled if life sciences were given priority and proper funding.

Omilabu said: “We shouldn’t expect other countries to help us fight our local problems. This is the more reason we must give priority to biotechnology in the country. It can help us solve some stem cell issues.

“For instance, a number of vaccines are now produced in fruits; we don’t need to give injections. They can be put in oranges, bananas, and other fruits, and when one eats them, he or she becomes immunised. This is the level our country should get to,” he said.



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