By George Samuel, Abuja
The coronavirus scourge presents opportunities to develop home-grown solutions to meet national demands, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has said.
Onu who spoke via Skype while addressing participants of senior executive course No.42, 2020 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Jos on Thursday in Abuja, noted that agencies of the Ministry are already providing indigenous solutions to the problems created by the pandemic through the production of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like high-quality facemasks, body immune boosters, vaccine, and test kits, disinfectant dispensing equipment, ventilators, and tele-medicine amongst others.
“The Ministry is also upgrading the molecular Biology laboratories of her Biotechnology agency in Abuja and Odi, Bayelsa state, SHETSCO laboratory and the multi-purpose laboratory of the National Institute for Science Laboratory at Ibadan as test centers, the Minister added. Nigeria should start planning how to take advantage of the opportunities created by COVID-19.
“All nations will carry the burden, bear the pains and suffer the agony of this deadly and infectious disease but not many nations will benefit from the opportunities that will come with the end of the disease. Nigeria should prepare to take advantage of the opportunities that will certainly come.”
“Regarding the post COVID-19 era, our goal is to make the States and Local Governments the veritable engine-houses of value added, technology and innovation-driven, socio-economic growth. This will be accomplished by deploying a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.”
“The Ministry will deploy innovative mechanisms to lift 82 million Nigerians out of poverty by doubling the current 47 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in Nigeria.
“Our target will be to ameliorate the socio-economic and livelihood disruptions resulting from the pandemic, through the deployment of science, technology and innovation interventions involving relevant stakeholders in carefully selected Innovation and Competitive Hubs throughout Nigeria,” he emphasised.