The Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, has said for Nigeria to diversify economically, the country must put research and innovation on the front burner of its developmental agenda through collaborations among the academia, industry and the government.

In his keynote address at the National Centre for Technology Management Government-Industry-Academia Linkages workshop on Wednesday, he noted that the country had failed to optimise the use of research and innovation to drive and fast-track economic development.

According to him, this is evident with the reliance on export of natural resources and raw/unprocessed commodities as a means of sustaining the economy.

He further noted that this had exposed the country to economic instability occasioned by the changes in international commodities markets.

Abdullahi said, “Nigeria’s economy has been bedeviled with inability to efficiently exploit its huge and abundant human and material resources for nation building.

“The only available option to change this trajectory is enhancing the diversification of our dear nation’s economy through application and deployment of cutting edge research and innovation in all sectors of the economy.”

The minister added that only a small proportion of entrepreneurial start-ups were engaged in innovation in Nigeria, when innovation should also be commercialised by both existing and new firms.

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He said a country’s ability to develop and successfully commercialise innovations had become a key competitive strength.

He therefore called on all actors to come together to build a robust partnership and effective information sharing mechanism that would bridge the divide and accelerate development through innovation and efficient collaborative efforts among the academia, industry and government.

The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, NACETEM, Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, noted that synergy among the actors would bring about radical change in the deployment of science, technology and innovation to the achievement of sustainable development.

“NACETEM as a knowledge support institution believes platforms such as this will not only allow actors to brainstorm but also give birth to pragmatic steps needed to right the perceived wrongs regarding the wide gap among the actors of NIS,” he said.

Ukwuoma added that though the workshop might not immediately solve the identified challenges, it would set the country on the path of greatness, leading to job creation, symbiotic partnership between the academia and the industry, relevant skillsets acquisition, among other benefits.

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