Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, has expressed optimism that the National Competitiveness in Raw Material and Products Development Policy would boost Nigerian economy as well as make it to be self-sufficient and less reliant on other nations.
Onu stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while presenting a keynote address at the meeting of National Consultative Committee on Competitiveness (NCCC).
The minister decried a situation where Nigeria spent over N43 trillion in the importation of raw materials in the past seven years, adding that “efforts are being made to ensure that we don’t depend entirely on other people to meet our basic needs.”
He lamented that a great nation like Nigeria was importing raw materials and not adding value to the exportable raw materials in line with international best practices, adding that this scenario had greatly affected job creation and depreciated the currency.
According to him, if the National Competitiveness in Raw Material and Products Development Policy was vigorously pursued, Nigeria would save N3.6 trillion in the next five years of its implementation.
The policy, he explained, would give more opportunities to Nigerians on the job value chain, redirect the nation’s economy and make it to be self-reliant.
Therefore, the minister tasked members of the committee to ensure successful implementation of the programme.
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Henry Eteama, said the committee was carrying its assignment with deep attention to facts and figures in line with international best practices.
He also said the committee observed that science and technology had been relegated to the background, adding that the private sector was not utilising the results of research and development of tertiary institutions of learning, assuring that the committee would work to reverse the negative trend.
Meanwhile, Onu has challenged research agencies of the country to make their findings to meet the needs of the society.
Speaking while presenting patent certificates to beneficiaries of National Office for Technology Acquisition Promotion (NOTAP) patent assistance programme, Onu pointed out that research findings must be converted into products and services that Nigerian people can use.
According to him, “If properly harnessed, research efforts will go a long way in mitigating unemployment as well as reduce poverty.”