From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) in conjunction with Across Atlantic Development (AAD) United Kingdom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop and establish a Science and Technology Park, as well as Science Museum at Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) Abuja.

The partnership was initiated through the private-public partnership (PPP) initiative, with AAD pledging to provide the required funding for the development of the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park.

The Minister of Science Technology and Innovation, Adeleke Mamora stated that the ministry has been promoting the establishment of science and technology parks in Nigeria since 2006. After conducting a nationwide survey to identify the science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) landscape of the country, six science parks were initially proposed, one in each geo-political zone. However, the focus was later shifted to the establishment of a model science and technology park at Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Abuja, where 79.5 hectares of land was provided.

Mamora stressed that the implementation of the signing of the MoU must be achieved to create more jobs for the youths through the science park. He assured stakeholders that the ministry was already partnering with institutions and development partners locally and internationally to assist in the implementation of the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park.

“This is a partnership with the Federal Government as represented by the Ministry of Science and Technology. We have situations where MoU is signed but not implemented and it is cutting shot the expectations of the people. We will monitor and be committed to making sure that records are made straight by implementing this project.

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“It is imperative to say that AAD has indicated readiness to inject the much-needed expertise and funding for the development of the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park in partnership with the Ministry and other critical stakeholders in the STI Ecosystem.

The Minister of State, Science Technology and Innovation Henry Ikoh stated that STI is a key element of the micro-small and medium-scale enterprises’ strategy and action.

Ikoh added that the SHESTCO Science and Technology Park would serve as a model for replication by state governments, universities, the private sector and other organisations interested in establishing science and technology parks.

Director-general of SHESTCO, Prof. Paul Onyenekwe on his part said that SHESTCO has provided a strong science base for the takeoff of the park. He stressed that a Science and Technology Park of this magnitude is expected to consist of supporting infrastructure for its establishment and development to achieve the desired goal of springing up knowledge-based enterprises.

The CEO of AAD, Dr David Apollos, disclosed that the science park is a multi-million-dollar project that will move the country forward through STI. He revealed that it had obtained 90 per cent of the project fund, with the EU providing over 70 per cent of the funds. He emphasised that leadership is required to implement the project collectively by stakeholders.