Reps urged to pass bill on National Innovation Agency

By Ibrahim HassanWuyo

A group, the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), has called on the House of Representatives to pass the bill seeking to establish a National Innovation Agency (NiNNOVA) into law.

Doing so, the AYA said, would lead to the development of Nigeria outside the oil sector.

Speaker of the AYA, Mohammed Salihu Danlami said in a statement that if established, the Agency will coordinate innovation activities as well as administer funding to grow and support the innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

“The Bill is of national interest and importance, it will drive the process for diversification of the economy, as many countries which have followed such line have witnessed tremendous benefits and are among the most developed countries in the world,” they said.

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AYA explained that China, Japan, and India which are global economic giants do not have a drop of oil, but India rakes in a whopping 140 billion US Dollars annually from ICT-based solutions and services.

“The leadership of Arewa youth Assembly sends its profound gratitude to the Honourable Speaker and Honourable Members of the 9th Assembly for the successful 1st reading of the Bill to Establish a National Innovation Agency (Establishment Bill 2020) on the 2nd of July 2020 as sponsored by Rep. Chris Emeka Azubogu.”

“We, therefore, want to urge the House to please call for the second reading and quick passage in view of the sensitivity of the bill and its importance to national development.

“The National Innovation Agency being proposed will play a leading role in the development of Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem by coordinating, networking, fostering, and partnering different organizations from various fields such as academia, technology, industry, finance, and investment.

“Its main focus will be on utilizing knowledge management to achieve innovation, which could be employed as the principal tool in improving the quality of life and as a driving tool for an increasingly competitive economy. NiNNOVA will rely on academic and financial support mechanisms to drive and support innovation development.”

“NiNNOVA will undertake a broad-based and systematic approach in facilitating innovation development in Nigeria, both in terms of making improvements and pioneering new initiatives. More precisely, it will focus on fostering strategic innovation and industry innovation, which will enhance national productivity, encourage economic restructuring and social development as well as promote national competitiveness.

“NiNNOVA will also focus on coordinating industrial clusters both at the policy and operational levels, promoting innovation culture and building up innovation systems, with a broader aim to transform Nigeria into an innovation-driven economy.

“It shall exist to promote the development of efficient and innovative Nigerian systems within thematic areas such as technology, ICT, nanomedicine, nanotechnology, agriculture, agribusiness, biotechnology, health,  education, etc.

“This is what NIGERIA lacks but so desperately needs at the moment so that we can have a knowledge-based economy. A commodity-based economy such as the one we currently operate does not get any country anywhere in terms of national development. It is noteworthy that South Korea which developed an innovation-based economy and is not up to the size of a state in the Soviet Union has about the economic size of the Soviet Union.

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“The Swedish Innovation Agency champions and coordinates innovation-based activities in Sweden for national development. The Thailand Innovation Agency plays a similar role in Thailand. The list is endless; virtually every country in the world has an Agency whose mandate is the coordination of innovation for national development.

“In view of the crucial and critical role the National Innovation Agency will play in re-tooling our national economy for national development, we, therefore, urge the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives – Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila – to please call for the second reading of this Bill and to expedite action for its eventual passage as such an agency will add huge value to Nigeria in terms of wealth creation and overall national competitiveness and development,” they said.

Vanguard

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