Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari says the World Bank is committing additional $3 million for the establishment of six technology hubs across the country as part of his administration’s effort to create enabling environment for technology and innovation in Nigeria.
The President who spoke through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this in Abuja while declaring open the 2018 Science and Technology Innovation Expo, with the theme, “Fast Tracking Sustainable Development of Nigeria through Science and Technology.”
He said he has also approved a new science and technology innovation road map 2012-2030 for the country, as well as approving the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development in Nigeria.
President Buhari also directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to align with the Executive Order 5 of Science, Technology on Innovation to ensure that the lofty intents of that order are met.
His words: “It is our intention as a government to utilise those initiative to stimulate global competiveness of our raw materials and support our ambition for a diversified economy. In September 2016, the State House hosted the first Aso Villa Demo Day to showcase innovations…Since then, the World Bank has supported a batch of those innovations with about $3 million, the first tranch of which has already been disbursed. I’m pleased to note that World Bank is committing an additional $3 million for six technology hubs across Nigeria in our universities.”
“In addition, the federal government plans to strengthen the technology and innovation ecosystem by supporting the development of new innovation hubs in partnership with the private sectors, and this is well on course.
“We have recently concluded a competitive selection process of private sector entities that will implement and manage the hubs. Each of this hubs will focus solely the market challenges peculiar to the region of the country in which each is located.
“We are also setting up technology hubs in universities in the six geopolitical zones. And this is important also as we do this to celebrate the creativity and innovation of many of our young Nigerians who are doing incredible things in science and technology.
“Most recently, on February 2nd, 2018, president Buhari signed a presidential executive order, and this administration’s 5th executive order; for supplying and execution of projects and programmes especially in the area of science, engineering and technology.
“As contained in executive order five, we will also establish Centres for acquisition of technology in each of the geopolitical zones of the country. We will provide intervention funds that will strengthening research and development through training programmes and partnerships in Nigeria universities and polytechnics. Our goal is to develop a strong confident nation that is able to quickly identity and take advantage of emerging opportunities in a rapidly evolving world
“The Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council under the Chairmanship of the President will ensure the faithful implementation of this order. The important thing about this executive order is that it says now that wherever there is local talent in science, technology and innovation, we cannot get that from abroad. So if we are procuring any type of engineering services, technology services or science services, so long there is a local talent, it is the local talent that must be patronised and we must not import or pay for foreign talents,
“I wish to add that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to align with it and to ensure that the lofty intent of that order are met. Science and technology are key instrument of the realisation of the objectives of our National Economic and Growth Plan (NERG) 2017-2020. Our goal of moving Nigerian economy away from a resource-based to a knowledge based model is one that we must take seriously and the ERG is a step in that direction,
Earlier, Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology said that with the huge population of the country and vast resources that Nigeria could utilise the power of science and technology to become the technological leader in Africa and hence play a leading role in the global battle against poverty, disease and illiteracy.
He stressed that through science and technology that Nigeria would find weapon to fight hung disease, illiteracy and underdevelopment.