Nigeria To Become World’s Fastest Growing Economy By 2050, Minister Says As NSTIR is Presented In Kaduna

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By KATO P.  LADAN,  Kaduna
By the year 2050, with the support  that would  be recorded from the National  Science , Technology  and Innovation  Roadmap  (NSTIR) 2030,  Nigeria would be fastest growing  economy in the world.
The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, stated this,  while speaking at the North West Dialogue on Presidential  Executive  Order No. 5 and Sensitization On the NSTIR in Kaduna  on Friday.
“The national goal of moving to a status of one of the top economies in
the world is only achievable through the use of STI to modernize
facilities, production systems and services. In the latest “World in 2050
Report” released in February, 2015 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
in which economic growth projections for thirty-two of the world’s largest
economies (constituting about 84% of the global GDP) are presented,
the world economy is expected to grow at an average annual rate of
about 3% during 2014-2050.
“It is expected to double in size by 2037 and possibly triple by 2050. The Nigerian and Vietnamese economies  are expected to become the fastest growing economies in the world  over the 2050 timeframe. Nigeria is expected to rise from its 2014 rank  of 20th to 16th by 2030 and 9th by 2050,” the Minister,  represented by the Permanent  Secretary, Bitrus Bako Nabasu said.
The Minister said that in order to attain the projected levels of economic performance  and Nigeria’s current economic development targets in many sectors as  outlined in the full text of NSTIR document, investments in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) have to  sharply increase within the next few years.
“Traditionally, Nigeria has  invested very poorly in STI and R&D. Most of the countries that compete  with Nigeria in the global market invest more than 2% of their GDP in  research and development to create new products from their raw  materials (and in some cases, imported) and market them globally to  receive the advantages of domestic job creation, improvement of social
services and elevation of national prestige,” he added.
He explained that when he assumed office as the Minister of Science and Technology  in November, 2015, he was very disturbed with the lack of
interest among pupils and students in the primary and
secondary schools respectively for mathematics and science subjects.
“Also worrying, is the reluctance which some parents show when their
children want to pursue careers in science and engineering.
“Arising from  all these, our nation has depended so much on foreigners to execute  projects in the area of science and technology, such that when we want  to build important roads, bridges, airports, seaports, refineries and
dams, we look for foreign expertise. Also, even for our  telecommunications and the production of crude oil, the mainstay of our  economy, we depend essentially on foreigners.
“Today, there is no Nigerian Engineering firm that is competing for
jobs in other countries of the world. Most worrisome is the unfortunate
mindset of many Nigerians that things pertaining to science and
technology should be left for other people who do not have our colour of
skin. This explains why whatever equipment we need as a nation, what
comes to our mind is to import from outside. I was determined that all
these must change so that science and technology should play its
rightful role in nation building,” he emphasized.
Onu pointed out that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) constitute the  engine of socio-economic advancement for many countries.
“Investments in STI bring benefits to all sectors of a country’s economy
such as industrial development; infrastructure development; advanced
and more convenient communication systems; energy system
improvement; human health and environmental protection; and jobs for
social system stability. All the highly-developed countries have invested
intensively in STI and related research and development (R and D). They
have created and implemented systems for harvesting and processing
natural resources to produce goods; and developing facilities to serve
their communities.
“They have devised ways of using the deliverables from STI to improve their governance systems and decision-making schemes. In this regard the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has expressed his  commitment to supporting fast-tracking of Nigeria’s industrial and economic development through advances in STI.
As a prominent country in a highly competitive world in  which advances and application of STI determine national wealth and  affect the livelihood of citizens, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind,” he added
The Minister stressed that Nigeria is now poised to catching  up with other developed  countries  with the National  Science and Technology Integrated Roadmap 2030 which has been  developed after detailed review of the unmet targets of Nigeria’s  previous national economic development plans since independence in  1960 and the technological inadequacies that plagued them;  assessments of STI needs of current roadmaps and initiatives of all  MDAs of Nigeria; studies of cooperate sector and state programmes;  assessment of private sector growth requirements that can be improved  by knowledge systems and diffusion of STI into society. By its mandate,  the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) views itself as  both an implementer and coordinator of efforts by all stakeholder
organizations on improvement of R and D to support Nigeria’s
sustainable development plans.
“At the Interactive Fora with State Commissioners of  Science and Technology that I organized as part of my Ministry’s  stakeholder engagement processes in Abuja and Osun State on  December 14th – 15th, 2015, and 2nd – 4th November, 2016  respectively, the Fora identified some constraints to the implementation  of Nigeria’s Science and Technology Policy of 2012 which would have  catalyzed Nigeria’s technological/ industrial revolution.
” The key  constraints are as follows: the uptake of R&D results, by industries and  SMEs in Nigeria is still very low (about 25% in the food sector); weak
linkages and collaboration among key stakeholders in the STI system
(knowledge database centres, government and industry, etc.) are
barriers to Nigeria’s national innovation system; weakness in R&D
results, thereby, leading to duplication of efforts; lack of confidence of
industries in the ability of Universities to meet their needs; Inadequate
funding of research and development; lack of adequate infrastructure
as well as weak institutional capacity,” he revealed.
Speaking  further,  he noted that the NSTIR 2030 is the strategic  response to the needs identified at the fora.
“It is designed to catalyze  effective implementation of programmes and projects that Nigeria’s  Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have included in their  roadmaps and plans, most of which are included in various tables in the  full Roadmap document. Although, those Roadmap extends to the  2030-time horizon which desirably coincides with the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) programme of the United Nations
“Nigeria subscribes, it also covers the realities of Nigeria’s current short
term economic development as contained in the “Nigeria Economic
Recovery & Growth Plan 2017 – 2020”.
“NSTIR 2030 covers three implementation periods: the short term
(2017 – 2020), the medium term (2021 – 2025), and the long term
(2026 – 2030). Several critical short term programmes and projects
have already been initiated, among which are consultations with
partners on commercialization of locally invented machines, and
formulated chemicals and food products, establishment of science
museums, artisan training, and establishment of a science and
technology bank to support a National Research and Innovation Fund.
“The current Administration’s National Economic Recovery Plan
(NERP) 2017 – 2020 that has been approved covers programmes and
projects that will rapidly boost the economy through job creation,
increased productivity in traditional sectors, and diversification of
economy through high-impact projects and incentives in new sectors.
Some of the projects and programmes include promotion of the
beneficiation of solid minerals, support of innovation to improve
productivity and competitiveness, rapid development of infrastructure
(roads, rail, ports and power) boosting of oil exploration and
downstream activities, export of processed agricultural products and
manufactured goods, and development of self-sufficiency in food and
agro-products.
The set of projects and programmes listed above is  complemented by others configured by MDAs in such areas as energy  systems, health, infrastructure, aviation, education, ICT, environment,  water resources and youth employment.
“NSTIR 2030 programmes and  projects are designed to support the effective and efficient  implementation of these plans through policy support, infrastructure  framing, research and development, training /talent engagement,  technology and commercialization support, enhancement of general  science literacy/public enlightenment, as well as monitoring and
evaluation. Most of these utilities were lacking or inadequate in
Nigeria’s previous development plans.
“They are indispensable to cost effective and efficient implementation of plans. Although, Nigeria has not reached its potential on the deployment
of STI deliverables into projects and programmes, there have been
some remarkable improvements within the past few years especially, on
the development of new products and materials.
Various FMST  institutes have collaborated with other organizations to develop  machines and components such as cassava pealing machine, flash  dryer for cassava flour production, motorized plantain slicer, mineral
processing technologies, laterite grinding machine, solar cooker,
NASENI ecofriendly smokeless stove, wind turbines, fiber concrete roof
tile-making machines, electrohydro brick-making machine, deep water
well drilling rig, PRODA porcelain insulator and NABDA biofuel plant,
among others.
“Several new and essential products that can support import
substitution policies when they are commercialized have also been adhesives, kenaf fiber, Neem antiseptic soap, herbal arthritis ointment,
herbal cough syrup, FIIRO bar soap and NARICT biofuel. All the products
listed above are ready for commercialization. In consistency with
Nigeria’s national STI policy which serves as the guide for
implementation of NSTIR 2030 activities, FMST is working with
stakeholders to move Nigeria’s indigenously developed technologies
and products to the market place.
“NSTIR 2030 targets mobilization of Nigeria’s intellectual
resources for growth and diversification of the economy, provision of
incentives for all stakeholders, including the private sector, academia,
Nigeria Diaspora and non-profit/community groups to embrace and
engage in STI, improvement of science infrastructure, intensification of
research and development, intensification and development of talent
and skills, deployment and commercialization of technologies and
improvement of science literacy and public stakeholder engagement
processes in Nigeria.
” With implementation of the planned NSTIR 2030 programmes and increased investment in STI, Nigeria is poised to enter  the top 20% of technologically advanced countries in the world, with  great benefits to industrialization efforts, socio-economic stability and
elevation in the quality of life.
“These efforts will help move our economy from a resource based
to a knowledge based innovation driven economy. The future of our
dear country, Nigeria, rests on science and technology. We must
efficiently deploy science and technology to effectively utilize our
abundant human and material resources for job and wealth creation in
order to achieve rapid national development,” he said

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