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Upsurge in foreign exchange rate calls for concern, says minister

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
06 October 2022   |   7:08 am
Minister of State, for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, on Wednesday said Nigeria's dwindling revenue base and an upsurge in the foreign exchange rate was a development that calls for serious concern.

Naira vs Dollar. Photo: NAIRAMETRICS

Minister of State, for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, on Wednesday said Nigeria’s dwindling revenue base and an upsurge in the foreign exchange rate was a development that calls for serious concern.

According to him, Nigeria must therefore invest heavily in science and technology to reverse the trend.

The minister raised the concern at the flag-off of the Northcentral dialogue between government and stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem on the establishment and implementation of the Technology and Innovation Centres for global competitiveness and productivity in Abuja.

The minister, represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Monilola Udoh, stressed the need for industry and business-driven research and development activities to be fully integrated into providing solutions to the nation’s socio-economic activities and the stabilisation of the nation’s foreign exchange.

Describing the theme, “achieving Nigeria’s competitiveness and improved foreign exchange earnings through science, technology and innovation” as apt, the minister regretted that over the years, the role of STI in the developmental agenda of the nation has not been fully utilised.

He said the establishment of technology and innovation centres in the six geo-political zones would enhance the collaboration of researchers which is necessary for achieving the desired research output in the country, rather than working in silos.

The minister stated: “The experience of COVID-19 in our economic transformation of many countries in the world including Nigeria is an example that indicates the importance of STI in Socio-Economic Development of a Nation and the need to make STI play important role in the socio-economic development of any Nation.

“Let me at this juncture state that more needs to be done in STI in our country to achieve our desired goal. There is a need to continue to improve on the Business, Industry and Service driven Research and development capacity and capability of the country. The trajectory in business and R&D are the main drivers of innovation including sound policies thereafter form good technological progress towards accelerating the goals of sustainability and shared prosperity,

“It is my strong belief that at the end of the dialogue in the Six Zones, the Stakeholders will be able to come up with a strategy that will ensure that the technology and innovation centres will produce tech giants, effectively encourage peer review of researchers and promote learning of new approaches to research through interaction”