By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said that the Federal Government is making conscious and sustained efforts for Nigeria to be at the forefront of new and emerging technologies, saying that Nigeria should not be excluded from any branch of Science and Technology.
Dr. Onu made the remarks at the 2nd interactive forum with the State Commissioners In charge of Science and Technology in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the Minister, “We have virtually concluded consultations with relevant stakeholders within the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government as it concerns Nanotechnology. We find nanotechnology to have applications in virtually all other technologies, including space, artificial intelligence, and robotics as it concerns improved productivity and reduction in size and cost.”
The Minister said that the Federal Government was determined to improve funding of Science, Technology, and Innovation to actualize its set objectives.
“Mr. President announced that 0.5% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will now be used to fund STI in the country, though the African Union (AU), recommended 1% of GDP to be utilized for Science and Technology in all countries of the continent, the 0.5% is an improvement over what we had in the past.’’
He said that efforts are on the ground, to ensure that Nigeria is prepared for a post crude oil era, adding that Nigeria has 187 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and has the highest natural gas reserves in the world and 9th highest in the world.
Dr. Onu said that the Ministry of Science and Technology is introducing Methanol to the nation’s economy, as it can be used to produce as many as 1000 different products that can be used in our homes, schools, offices, hospitals, farms, and factories.
He said; “The production of methanol will help us to stop gas flaring in the country. Since natural gas is the major feedstock for its production, this will increase the demand for natural gas and hence initially reduce and finally help stop gas flaring in the country”.
The Minister added that Methanol fuel technology will be fully domesticated in the country, noting that Nigerian professionals can fully grasp the technology and be in a position to export the technology to other countries in the near future.
On his part, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi called for close collaboration among the Federal, States, and the Ministry’s agencies to enhance the effective domestication of the National STI roadmap 2017-2030.
He further said that state governments should create the needed governance structure that will facilitate the deployment of STI in fast-tracking economic development in the states.
Barr. Abdullahi advocated that the forum should initiate a mechanism for joint R &D programs between the Ministry and states that have a comparative advantage in certain fields of research.