The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities of Covid-19 by developing home-grown solutions to meet our national demands.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu disclosed this via skype while addressing participants of senior Executive course No.42, 2020 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Jos on Thursday in Abuja.
Dr. Onu said agencies of the Ministry are already providing indigenous solutions to the problems created by the pandemic through the production of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like high-quality facemasks, body immune boosters, vaccine and test kits. Others, he added, are disinfectant dispensing equipment, ventilators, tele-medicine etc.
The Ministry is also upgrading the molecular Biology laboratories of her Biotechnology agency in Abuja and Odi, Bayelsa state, SHETSCO laboratory and the multi-purpose laboratory of the National Institute for Science Laboratory at Ibadan as test centers, the Minister added.
According to him, Nigeria should start planning how to take advantage of the opportunities created by COVID-19.
“All nations will carry the burden, bear the pains and suffer the agony of this deadly and infectious disease but not many nations will benefit from the opportunities that will come with the end of the disease. Nigeria should prepare to take advantage of the opportunities that will certainly come.”
It is with this in mind, Dr. Onu added, that the Ministry is applying Science, Technology and Innovation to tackle the pandemic and its aftermath.
“Regarding the post COVID-19 era, our goal is to make the States and Local Governments the veritable engine-houses of value added, technology and innovation-driven, socio-economic growth. This will be accomplished by deploying a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.”
He further said that being a win-win endeavor, state Governors will find the initiative the most sustainable model for achieving prosperity as it would enhance internally generated revenue (IGR) as well increase productivity and economic diversification.
The Ministry, according to the Minister, is also collaborating with other agencies, local governments, as well as researchers, universities, industry, the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and the media to entrench value added and knowledge-based innovations.
Said he: “This novel initiative will be coordinated in collaboration with various Agencies of the Ministry with offices in most States of the Federation, thereby strengthening local content integration in all the critical sectors of the economy, powered by science, technology and innovation”.
Dr. Onu further said that the Ministry will deploy innovative mechanisms to lift 82 million Nigerians out of poverty by doubling the current 47 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in Nigeria.
“Our target will be to ameliorate the socio-economic and livelihood disruptions resulting from the pandemic, through the deployment of science, technology and innovation interventions involving relevant stakeholders in carefully selected Innovation and Competitive Hubs throughout Nigeria,” he finally said.