Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has explained that over three million jobs would be created if 20 per cent of cassava is used to replace wheat in bread making in Nigeria.
The minister who stated this in Abuja recently when a delegation of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, visited him in his office, said the ministry was committed to adding value to the country’s agricultural produce through food processing to forestall wastages, adding that import substitution and development of new technologies were needed to revive the nation’s ailing economy.
The minister further explained that the ministry was also working to domesticate technologies and ensure that imported machines are produced in the country, noting that this could be realised through massive investment in research and development.
He attributed the poor level of technological development in the country to lack of cooperation between the public and private sectors as well as the universities and research institutions, regretting that they had not worked together to ensure that research findings were put to use.
Onu, who described NESG as the gateway to the private sector, assured the delegation of the ministry’s readiness to collaborate with them.
Leader of delegation and Chairman of NESG Board of Directors, Mr. Kyari Bukar, told the minister that their visit was to seek closer working relationship with the ministry and its agencies to create public-private synergies required to make science and technology the driver for achieving competitiveness, inclusive growth and sustainability in the country.
The NESG chairman called for implementation of the science, technology and innovation policy within the shortest possible time, arguing that it would enable the ministry contribute immensely to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Bukar observed that there was a huge industrial skills gap that urgently needed to be bridged in the sector, and also called for strategic synergies to be formed with development partners and other foreign institutions to aid technology transfer as well as skills development.
He suggested a meeting of stakeholders in the public sector with “the private sector and industries to identify the skills required in science-based sectors in the next five, 10, and 15 years and to map out the kind of skills development to be undertaken.”