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Science, Technology And Innovation A Veritable Tool To Revive Nigeria’s Economy– Experts

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Group pictures of participants at the workshop,organised by NACETEM

By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo

Stakeholders in education sector have harped on the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) to nation-building with a call to Nigerian government to make STI a priority if the most populous West African country hopes to flex its economic muscle.

They agreed that the government can accomplish these goals by expanding the country’s economy and making it more globally competitive, adding that it is important to give Science, Technology And Innovation prominence so as to address the damage done to Nigerian economy by COVID-19 pandemic.

The experts made these known in Abuja, at a workshop with the theme “National Workshop on Science, Technology and Innovation Management: A Tool for Rapid Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria”, organized by the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM).

Speaking, Engr Prof Okechukwu Ukwuoma, the Director-general/Chief Executive Officer of NACETEM said for Nigerian economy to bounce back stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic, science, technology and innovation must be seen as a veritable tool to achieve that .

Prof Ukwuoma said: “At a crucial period such as this when the Diversification Agenda and National Economic Sustainability Plan of the current administration are geared at repositioning Nigeria towards bouncing back stronger from the ravaging impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, moving our economy from almost wholly resource-based to knowledge and innovation driven towards reclaiming the nation’s pride of place among the comity of nations and realising the great hopes and aspirations of our founding fathers at independence, there is no better veritable tool to turn to than science, technology and innovation.

“We have consciously and conscientiously propagated the gospel of STI, which, in fact, has led to wholesale inclusion of innovation into the extant STI policy of Nigeria.

“This singular act has revolutionised the way STI is perceived and deployed in the country, as its importance is now more apparent to all and sundry. Indeed, as opposed to the practice of the past when it takes ages for policies to be revised, the 2012 Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation is being reviewed less than 10 years after to align it with the current realities of our existence! This is another indication of the nation’s seriousness with the deployment of science, technology and innovation to the realisation of sustainable development in Nigeria. It is no longer business as usual!

“The time to walk the talk is now. The time to engage science, technology and innovation for sustainable development is today, not tomorrow.

“It is this realisation that has made NACETEM to keep interfacing with the public on how best to make STI a tool for rapid socio-economic development.

“We have in the last 10 months of 2021 interacted with the public on various fronts. This year we have looked at science diplomacy, government-industry-academia linkages, circular economy, technical and vocational education, etc in a bid to place premium on the significance of science, technology and innovation in development.

“This latest workshop is an effort to step up the gear in bringing major stakeholders together to brainstorm on how to begin to apply STI to every facet of the nation’s economy.

“Its impact is considerably driven by a breakthrough in multiple development areas on national economies in science and technology including space research, biotechnology, and energy development among many others.

“Science explains humanity understanding of the natural world while technology discusses the ability to manipulate the natural world. These disciplines are dynamic and pervasive and influencing cultural, economic and political milieu. Hence, science and technology play an exceedingly prominent role in the world.

“Let me add here that science has, in fact, become so ubiquitous in the modern world that it affects human development in all facets of life.

“While technology is the utilisation of science to carry out a function, science and technology-based planning is what was used to build and transform the world. To crown it all, innovation leads to higher productivity, meaning that the same input generates a greater output. As productivity rises, more goods and services are produced – in other words, the economy grows. All these point to the inherent possibilities and capabilities of science, technology and innovation to drive sustainable socio-economic development,” he said.

Also speaking, the Honourable Minister Of State, Federal Ministry Of Science, Technology And Innovation, Barr Abdulahi Mohammed said STI would play a prominent roles to address the negative effects of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic on the economies of both developing and developed nations of the world.

The Minister who commended NACETEM for organising the workshop which he described its theme as apt said, no nation became great without the instrumentality of Science, Technology and Innovation.

This, according to him, can be seen from countries such as China, Malaysia, Singapore and others. “They rose to such enviable heights through the implementation of a viable Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Document.”

He hinted that Ministry has commenced the process involved in the review of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy. It is expected that the reviewed document which will be in line with best global practices will drive the economy of the country and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.

“Distinguished Participants, may I reiterate that it is not only formulation of policies but their implementation that drives economy growth. I have no doubt that the organizers of this workshop have put together various resources (human and material) that would impact on Participants.”

National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, saddled with the responsibility of providing critical knowledge support in the area of science, technology and innovation management for sustainable development and has been at the forefront of coupling knowledge to development in almost the last three decades.

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