Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology has said Nigeria would save N3.6 trillion through proper implementation of the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development.
Onu said this at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Establishment of National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Databank in Abuja.
The minister said the strategy would help the country to save such amount of money in five years, if well implemented.
“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.
“We are so happy that the ministry will be keeping data for the nation as it concerns all the research and development activities going on in the country,’’ he said.
According to him, the inauguration of the committee is a major development in the search for the country’s quest to be self-reliant.
Onu said the country needed to move from relying on resources and commodities to a nation that would depend on knowledge and innovation driven.
“For so long, we rely on other countries abroad for data, we quote data about the country as given by other people. This is very disturbing.
“There is no way we 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.’’
The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, who responded on behalf of the members, commended the minister for the opportunity given to them to serve.
Ukwuoma, Director-General,National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) noted that some researchers had been carrying out researches in isolation over the years in the country.
“We discovered that over the years, one single research can be done by different 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.
The chairman said 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 to study and review the already developed concept note on 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