FROM EVEREST EZIHE, Owerri
As the Covid -19 pandemic continues to ravage the global economy, Senator Uche Ekwunife has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria on the need to invest on indigenous technology as a strategic means of revamping her economy under the post Covid-19 recovering plans.
Ekwunife who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Science and Technology disclosed this when she led the Committee members that include Senators Obinna Ogba, Istifanus Gycing and Alkali S. Ahmed as part of their oversight functions to National Board for Technological Incubation (NBTI), Owerri centre in Imo State.
The centre which its core mandate is to develop new products with added value (s) through inventive indigenous Science and Technology is seen as a veritable sector in the Nation’s efforts to be a global player in socio-economic activities.
According to Ekwunife who is also the Senator representing Anambra State Central Senatorial zone “Nigeria cannot be said to be self-reliance, if it continues to give a lip service to the development of her indigenous technology and science. One of the fundamental lessons of the COVID-19 is the need to encourage indigenous technology through concerted efforts and meaningful investments, “she asserted.
She lamented over the environment which she said is unacceptable for serious Science and Technological incubation and reiterated the need for Government at all levels to give priority attention to the advancement of Indigenous technology.
The Chairman reassured of the efforts her Committee is making to ensure that the Presidency takes issue of Science and Technology as a front burner in the nation’s commitment to development and transformation.
Ekwunife applauded the workforce for their professionalism and commitment to duty but lamented that lack of political will and necessary government supports have frustrated their initiatives and motivations to achieve the needed results.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Federal establishment Engr. Mohammed Jibrin expressed happiness for the official visit of the Senate Committee noting it as crucial in this time of history.
Jibrin highlighted most of the efforts of the board in advancing indigenous technology through technological transfer and ingenuities while lamenting of inadequate funding and motivation.
Adding her voice, Mrs Clarice Chijioke, the Deputy Director South East informed that the NBTI Owerri center was established in 2006 and since then, they have nurtured some entrepreneurs to compete favourably with their counterparts elsewhere in Nigeria.
Chijioke commended Imo State Government for their various assistance in uplifting the centre and further expressed satisfaction with their collaborative efforts with the State Ministries of Science and Technology, Entrepreneurship and Skills Acquisition, and Commerce and Industries.
She enumerated their challenges to include lack of power supply, deplorable infrastructures, non-functional laboratories, lack of e- library and insecurity.
Highlight of the occasion was inspection of the centre’s facilities and exhibition of products made by some entrepreneurs working with the centre.