Nigeria said it is planning to setup a bank which will be making funds available for Nigerians breaking new grounds in the fields of science and tech.
Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Minister for Science and Tech said a bill for the establishment of the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), would soon be presented to Federal Executive Council and thereafter to the National Assembly for passage.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Monday, the minister said apart from creating thousands of jobs, the bank would make Nigeria an industrialised nation where mechanical and electronics products would be produced.
“The fund is not for agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology alone. It is for all research institutes in all ministries, laboratories in universities and for young creative Nigerians in science and engineering,”he said.
Dr Onu, admitted that the absence of venture capitalist has slowed the growth of industrialization in the country, adding government will bridge the gap with the floating of a science technology bank that will draw its funding from the research and innovation fund.
On NRIC, he said if the council was fully established it would provide way for the floating of a National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF) which would greatly assist research institutes and universities in their researches and commercialization.
Speaking on the outcome of his trips to Portugal and Argentina, Dr Onu said Portugal had agreed to assist Nigeria in management of vast resources found in and around the Atlantic ocean.
He said NRIC would work towards setting aside one percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for research institutes, saying the current 0.02 percent was too small.
According to him, if the bill is passed into an Act it will help fast track the country’s resources based economy to a knowledge driven one through science and innovation.
Onu, said Nigeria’s dependence on export of raw commodities since independence had always come with dire consequences whenever there was a sharp drop in price of crude oil.
Diversifying the economy without science and technology will not make that diversification sustainable and also will not make it competitive, he added.