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FG: Upsurge in foreign exchange rate worrying

The Minister of State, for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, has said Nigeria’s dwindling revenue base and upsurge in foreign exchange rate…

The Minister of State, for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh, has said Nigeria’s dwindling revenue base and upsurge in foreign exchange rate call for serious concern.

The minister raised the concern on Wednesday in Abuja at the flag-off of the Northcentral dialogue between government and stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem on the establishment and implementation of the Technology and Innovation Centres for global competitiveness and productivity in Abuja.

According to him, Nigeria must, therefore invest heavily in science and technology to reverse the trend.

The minister, represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Monilola Udoh, stressed the need for industry and business driven research and development activities to be fully integrated in providing solution in the nation’s socio-economic activities and the stabilisation of the nation’s foreign exchange.

He said the theme, ‘achieving Nigeria’s competitiveness and improved foreign exchange earnings through science, technology and innovation’ is apt, but regretted that over the years, the role of STI in the developmental agenda of the nation has not been fully utilised.

He said the establishment of technology and innovation centres in the six geo-political zones would enhance collaboration of researchers which is necessary for achieving the desired research output in the country, rather than working in silos.

“The experience of COVID-19 in our economic transformation of many countries in the world including Nigeria is an example that indicates the importance of STI in Socio Economic Development of a Nation and the need to make STI play important role in socio-economic development of any Nation.

“Let me at this juncture state that more needs to be done in in STI in our country to achieve our desired goal. There is need to continue to improve on the Business, Industry and Service driven Research and development capacity and capability of the country.

“The trajectory in business and R&D are the main drivers of innovation including sound policies thereafter form good technological progress towards accelerating the goals of sustainability and shared prosperity.

“It is my strong belief that at the end of the dialogue in the Six Zones, the Stake holders will be able to come up with a strategy that will ensure that the technology and innovation centres will produce tech giants, effectively encourage peer review of researchers  and promote learning of new approaches to research through interaction,” the minister said.

In a remark, the Director, UNESCO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, represented by Dr. Enang Moma, expressed optimism that Nigeria will improve on its Global Competitiveness Index, following the increased momentum on training for the Ministry staff.

Sanga said “UNESCO and the Ministry have kick-started collaboration in 3 key areas of STI, using STEM as building block for capacity development.”