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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