The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said that the diversification of Nigeria’s economy into agriculture and solid minerals are not enough to take the country out of recession.
He therefore stated noted the need to deploy science and technology in an effective and efficient manner, adding that if the country embraces research and innovation, it would remain competitive and the diversification would be sustainable.
The minister made the remark in Abuja at the 4th inter-ministerial planning committee meeting held ahead of the 2017 Technology and Innovation Expo scheduled for April in Abuja.
According to him, “Nigeria is presently in recession but it is not because we are in a recession that we are concerned. We are concerned because each time there is a sharp drop in commodity prices, we enter into a recession and we want to put an end to it. We want to make sure that this cycle does not repeat itself after this one, and the only way we can do so is to move our economy from being resource-based, that is, being dependent on commodities which was our economy has been since independence.”
Onu added: “At independence, our economy was resource based but at that time we depend on agricultural products. Subsequently, we abandoned agriculture and embraced petroleum products, both crude oil and natural gas are all commodities and one common feature is that these commodities we don’t determine the price.”
He stated that the ministry was determined to making sure that the country break away from the cycle that it presently finds itself, which has however been a common feature since independence.
He continued: “We are determined to make a change, to make our own contribution in a way that our economy will be diversified. Yes! We are working on agriculture, solid minerals, we are making progress.
“We need to deploy science and technology in a very effective and efficient manner so as to diversify our economy in a sustainable manner. It is very important that the diversification is sustainable, otherwise after some time we will now relapse to what the situation used to be and then the problems would start again. But if we remain competitive the diversification will be sustainable and for you to be competitive you must embrace research and innovation.”
Furthermore, the minister stressed that the ministry was determined and committed to ensuring that the commercialisation of research findings would be achieved in a sustainable manner through the expo.
Onu emphasised that the expo would bring together inventors, innovators and investors, stressing that “we can no longer afford that all our research findings on our laboratories to waste away on the shelves of our libraries.”