Nigeria will save N3.6 trillion in five years through proper implementation of the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Establishment of National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Databank in Abuja, Onu said the strategy would help Nigeria save N3.6 trillion in five years, if well implemented.
He said: “We have shown how that can be done and the data did not come from us; the data came from other sources. You can see that what we are witnessing today is very important for our economy in the process of job and wealth creation, as well as fighting poverty. We need data.”
Onu said the ministry was happy to be keeping data for the nation as it concerns all the research and development in the country. According to him, the committee’s inauguration was a major development in the search for the country’s quest to be self-reliant.
The minister said Nigeria needed to move from relying on resources and commodities to a nation driven by knowledge and innovation. “For so long, we relied on other countries abroad for data, we quote data about the country as given by other people. This is very disturbing,” he said.
According to him, there is no way Nigeria can plan, monitor, evaluate and measure any changes effectively, if it is being monitored from people outside the country.
“We believe that Nigeria can no longer depend on data from outside.
“We cannot rely on data from outside, particularly as it concern STI; so, we must depend on ourselves and be able to give accurate data about the nation. Data has become big business and in the technology age, you cannot do anything without data,” he stated.
The Committee Chairman, Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, commended the minister for the opportunity given to them to him and the committee members to serve, noting that some researchers had been carrying out researches in isolation over the years in the country.
Ukwuoma, who is Director- General, National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), said the Centre discovered that over the years, only one research could be done by various institutions, because there is no data bank.
“Also, Nigeria has been ranked poorly on the STI index because of lack of authentic data bank and in addition, we do not know what Diaspora researchers are doing,’’ he said, adding that the committee would look into all the above areas, in addition to the Terms of Reference (ToRS) given by the ministry.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Bitrus Nabusu, said the ToRS of the committee would be study and review the already developed concept note on the establishment of science and technology databank.
He said the committee would also develop a framework for harmonisation of the ministry’s agencies’ activities and databases and draw out an implementation strategy and plan for the establishment of the National STI databank.
The 27-member committee were drawn from the ministry, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and other STI-related agencies.