Nigerian govt. declares state of emergency in science and technology sector

Intent on ensuring the acquisition of technology by practitioners in the country, the Federal Government has declared a state of emergency in science and technology sector.

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.

He was joined at the briefing by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.

Onu said the Council approved the technology acquisition policy to encourage technological advancement in Nigeria.

“FEC accepted to declare a state of emergency for science and technology and this is very important because even the Economic and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2018-2020 recognizes the cardinal place of science and technology in driving this economic plan of government,” he said.

According to him, the initiative will help Nigerian firms to produce what the country needs which he said will boost foreign investment in Science, Technology and Engineering from where local content could be developed.

The minister added that the policy will facilitate technology transfer, wealth creation and ensure the payment of more taxes to government.

Onu stated: “The Federal Executive Council in its deliberations approved a policy that will help us to change the direction that we have been taking as a nation, a direction that will be very useful in helping us to start looking inwards to produce the things that we need as against depending on other outside people to import our requirements.

“Some of the highlights will involve for example where we have bulk purchases of major items that we are bringing into the country that those who normally would have supplied from outside the country will now come to Nigeria to establish their factories to produce in Nigeria.

“By doing so, they will offer job opportunities to our people, tax will be paid to government so wealth will be created but most importantly Nigeria will now acquire the necessary technology that will help us to build capacity.’’

The minister also said that from now any prospective practitioner in Engineering, Science and Technology, Medicine, Accountancy, Quantity Surveyors, among others must be certified by appropriate professional bodies in Nigeria.

He said the measure was that Nigerian firms would be in a position to carry out very complex jobs, especially in areas where expertise is presently lacking.

He stated: “We are not looking for transfer of technology because we know it would not happen; what we are looking for is acquisition of technology and we are interested in building our own capacity.

“We are convinced that we can do this and we believe that with the new policy, we will be in a position to acquire technology.”

FEC also approved N20.6 billion for road contracts in Plateau and Kwara states.
Fashola who spoke on this said N10.4 billion was for the reconstruction of Pankshin-Balank-Yalen-Salak- Gindiri road in Plateau state and N10.2 billion for reconstruction of Sharre-Patigi road in Kwara state.
He said: “The ministry presented two memoranda to the council. The first was to with respect for approval to construct the Pankshin-Balank-Yalen-Salak- Gindiri road in Plateau state for N10.46billion.

“The second one is the Sharre-Patigi road in Kwara for N10.2 billion, both prayers were approved by the council.

“The other memorandum was in respect to inherited liabilities from the old power ministry where a judgment of N119 billion had been signed against the Federal Government as a result of acts of officials of government who varied the presidential approval without seeking further directive from him and then awarded the contract on that basis.

“So, the party who was the beneficiary of that contract which they subsequently sought to withdraw went to court and got a judgment.”

Also speaking, Enelamah said that FEC approved a memorandum that was presented to amend the list of pioneer industries and products that will enjoy pioneer status going forward.

This, according to him, was line with the ease of doing business policy of government.”

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