From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday inaugurated the implementation committee for a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the Czech Republic on transfer of technology.

The President who was represented at the ceremony by the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, with representatives from various ministries, agencies and departments in attendance, while the main partnership would be run by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

Throwing more light on the agreement while addressing the State House Correspondents, the Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of NASENI, Professor Mohammed Haruna, said the programme has mutual benefits for both countries.

According to him, primary areas of target for cooperation and technology transfer include agricultural development as well as solid minerals.

“This was for the inauguration of the implementation committee of Memorandum of Understanding between Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on technology transfer and joint research for the mutual benefits of the two countries, but most importantly, for bridging technology gap between Nigeria and developed nations.

“The Czech Republic is represented by Technology Agency of Czech Republic, while Nigeria is represented by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI). Mr. President has approved the implementation of the MoU and there are imputes from relevant ministries through participation of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Budget and national Planning, to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from this relationship.

“NASENI is so chosen to be the secretariat of this implementation because it is within its mandate to proliferate technologies, to facilitate the domestication of the technologies of other nations for the benefit of our own small and medium scale enterprises and to help in the industrial development of the country.

“You’ll agree with me that there are technologies between Nigeria and other nations, Czech Republic is of the counties in Europe that are advanced in technology development, Nigeria on the other hand has its own benefits; it has the population, the demand, but we lack the technology, which means there are benefits for everyone.

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“In Nigeria, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has been producing, for example, one of areas for immediate translation into practical benefits is agriculture; agricultural equipment, processing, machinery in agriculture. So also is in the area of solid mineral and other industry, these key areas”, he said.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, explained that the agreement would create opportunities for the youth in the areas of Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence.

“This is focusing on technology transfer between Nigeria and the Czech Republic; and as you are very much aware, the Czech Republic is one of those countries in Europe that has vast amount of technology and in the yester years, we used to send our students to the former Czechoslovakia as it was called.

“So, now, this cooperation is between the Nigerian government represented by NASENI and the Czech side of the divide.

“What is going to happen there, 11 thematic areas—looking agriculture, mining, MSMEs and how we can collaborate to enable get some skilled training that when we have particular tasks that we are doing with certain machinery and there are better machinery that could be developed, we will be able to transfer this knowledge.

“And, then NASENI, using their own members of staff and research and development, will be able to adapt to these technologies to suit the Nigerian situation.

“Furthermore, as we discussed in the meeting, there are other emerging areas where we discussed the use of Artificial Intelligence; we have to come in; how we can do things better and how we can get young Nigerians.

“There are a lot of young Nigerians who are into IT and they are developing a lot of devices; things that help to make our tasks easier whether home, office, factory. So, how do we get these young people to be part of this particular project? And that’s why in our discussions, we have to bring in agencies of government like the ITF, SMEDAN, BOI; we also have to leverage on the organised private sector because there is a lot to learn from the private sector; a lot of resources there that we can tap”, she said.