Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, has said that no country anywhere in the world develops its science and technology base through reliance on the allocation in the annual budget, hence the need for National Research and Innovation Fund.
Onu spoke in Abuja at the weekend when the delegation from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) led by Ibitola Gbogboade, the Chairman, Specialised Exhibition Committee of Trade Promotion Board, visited him in office.
Dr. Onu hinted that a Consolidated Fund for the Development of Science, Innovation and Technology would be set up for rapid development of the sector.
He noted that National Research and Innovation Council, had met four times since the beginning of the year to fine-tune the setting up of the National Research and Innovation Fund.
He explained that the Fund would be outside of the annual budget.
“There is no country that I know that develops its research and innovation through budgetary provision alone.
“In the past, government had never allocated enough funds to science and technology. Once we put in place the council, we will put in place the fund. We will be funding science and innovation in Nigeria.
“We are very much interested in harnessing all the innovations in the country. We have demonstrated this to wherever we find innovators,” he stated.
As part of concrete measures to promote science and innovation in the country, the minister said technology villages would be established on some parts of the country, adding that the funding for their establishment is captured in 2016 budget.
He further explained that technology village would immensely help those in the informal sector who have bright and innovative ideas, adding that the government would assist them to convert their ideas into products and services.
“As far as we are concerned, we want to promote innovations. Whatever that would bring better products and services, and they are executed by Nigerians which would help us create jobs, we are in for that,” he said.
Earlier, Ibitola Gbogboade, the Leader of the delegation, said the LCCI was in Abuja to solicit the ministry’s endorsement and collaboration on the forthcoming specialised trade fair exhibition, which would display ICT products and services.
Gbogboade stressed the need for the introduction of digital learning in Nigerian schools, added that the Trade Fair would bring together professionals and critical stakeholders in the Information Technology. She stated that 300 universities across the country have been invited to the fair slated for July 26—28, with the theme, “Mobility, Technology and Nigerian economy.”