Samuel Bello, Abuja

The Federal Government said on Monday that the World Bank has approved additional financing of $3 million to stimulate global competitiveness of raw materials for a diversified economy in Nigeria.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Technology and Innovation Expo in Abuja.

The World Bank had in the first tranche supported a batch of innovations with about $3 million.

According to him, “the Federal Government plans to strengthen the technology and innovation ecosystem by supporting the development of new innovation hubs in partnership with the private sectors, and this is well on course. We have recently concluded a competitive selection process of private sector entities that will implement and manage the hubs. Each of this hubs will focus solely on the market challenges peculiar to the region of the country in which each is located.”

Osinbajo urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to align and ensure that the lofty intent of the recently signed presidential Executive Order for supplying and execution of projects and programmes, especially in the area of science, engineering and technology, are met.

“Science and technology are key instrument of the realisation of the objectives of our National Economic and Growth Plan (NERG) 2017-2020,” Osinbajo said. “Our goal of moving the Nigerian economy away from a resource-based to a knowledge-based model is one that we must take seriously and the ERGP is a step in that direction.

“Innovation will create jobs, it will attract investment, it will boost export, it will grow our economy. These are part of the positive impacts that it will have on our image and perception around the world.”

On his part, Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu revealed that patents for research findings, which were processed through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), increased from 16 in 2016 to 50 by the end of 2017.

“This is a clear evidence of a remarkable improvement in the level of innovation in Nigeria. It shows that it has become an important instrument to drive the role of research in the commercialization of goods and services for the happiness of our people,” Onu said.

He implored the private sector and stakeholders to unite to further science and technology in the country.

“I am confident that with all hands on deck, we can build a stronger family that will be united in the common pursuit of deepening the depth and broadening the reach of Science, Technology and Innovation in our economic diversification process, especially in a fast changing world.