The Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Uche Nnaji has underscored the significant role of the organized private sector in the economic growth and development of the country.
The Minister was speaking at the just concluded Manufacturing and Equipment/Nigerian Raw Materials exhibition, jointly organized by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) in Lagos.
Nnaji called for what he called ” a strong Triple Helix initiative” to deepen the collaboration and linkage between MAN and the agencies under his Ministry.
In his words, “The need for partnership, such as the one between MAN and RMRDC, further underscores the challenges of competition in the industrial place arising from the ongoing globalization of world economies.
“I, therefore, congratulate and appreciate the dogged efforts and synergy between the two organisations to deepen local raw materials sourcing by the manufacturers for sustainable industrial development.”
” It is a well-known dictum that any Country that does not stand its developmental efforts on Science, Technology and Innovation cannot expect dividend of socio-economic rejuvenation, which underscores the indispensable need to deploy a demand-driven research and development solution.
“Hence, the need to recognise the relationship between sustainable market and demand-driven research and societal development for economic growth and industrialization that are built on the untiring efforts of the Organised Private Sector of our economy.
He highlighted the crucial role of industrialization in the nation’s sustainable economic growth and development.
“Industrialization is one of the indices of measuring the development of nations and the survival of manufacturing industries is dependent largely on the availability of raw materials.
“With more than half of Nigeria’s revenue derived from oil exports, diversification from the mono oil economy is imperative for the nation to achieve and maintain a solid sustainable economic base.” The Minister further said.
He reiterated his commitment to promoting industrial growth through focused research. “My Ministry is determined and committed to supporting industrialization by focusing on demand-driven research and development by the agencies under my Ministry.
“The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) is exemplifying this by its adherence to the development and promotion of pilot agricultural and mineral raw materials as well as process equipment that meet the requirements of manufacturing industries.
On the Continental level, Nnaji called for regular engagements by stakeholders in manufacturing value chain to check dumping of substandard goods.
“As the Country embarks on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), there is the need for consistent engagements amongst stakeholders in the raw materials and manufacturing value chain of the economy…
“To avoid overbearing dumping of sub-standard raw materials and products on our shores from various sources across the world.
“Recently, I paid a working visit to the Technology and Innovation Centre of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
“I was impressed with the work the Council has done to facilitate the Country’s economic diversification initiative and manufacturing contribution to GDP.
“The Centre provides a platform for technology adoption, adaptation and transfer for agricultural and mineral raw materials process technology in Nigeria.
“This is a testament to my Ministry’s unwavering commitment to ensuring competitiveness in raw materials and products development.
“The Centre offers a window for industrial/academic research as it relates to raw materials development and utilization in Nigeria.
“The Centre also serves as a one-stop process technology outlay that showcases equipment, processes, instrumentation, etc. that a potential investor or an entrepreneur could take up in areas of agricultural and minerals processing.
“In line with this and with the strategic implementation of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5, my Ministry, through the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), has commenced the process for the establishment and replication of the Centre across the six geo-political zones…
“To allow for even development of resource-based industrialization and encourage local production of raw materials where Nigeria has the wherewithal and competitive advantage over and above other nations of the world.
“I urge industrialists and investors to replicate the process technologies showcased at the Centre at commercial scale for increased manufacturing activities…
“More so that their feasibility and viability as well as the capability of Nigerian engineers to design and fabricate process equipment have been demonstrated. Secondary and tertiary raw materials produced locally will reduce dependence on importation and conserve foreign exchange.”