‘Objectives of Revised Science, Technology, Innovation Policy’, By Govt

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THE Federal Government yesterday committed to implementing the nation’s revised Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy to boost technological enterprises and local technologies in the country.The federal government spoke, as it inaugurated the governing boards of the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NACRIT) and the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST) in Abuja.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama charged the new boards to work assiduously towards promoting technological enterprise, calling attention to the need to improve the socio-economic well being of Nigerians through science and technology.

On the STI policy, he stressed: “The policy which cuts across all spheres of human endeavour, emphasized the concept of innovation as a paradigm shift in our approach to deploying science and technology apparatus for national development.

“In this regard, and in order to transform Nigeria from a consumption based economy to a production based one, we must deploy the tools at science, technology and innovation to all sectors of our national economy to ensure the much needed development of our nation and people.”

He added: “Reports of eminent Scientists in Africa and beyond revealed that technology and innovation are the foundations of social and economic well-being since the beginning of human civilization, and with each passing millennium, the forces of technology and innovation have gained importance as fundamentals tools for improving the quality of life, both globally and within individual societies”.

He chronicled the development how the development of most continents of the world arose from the proper deployment of STI.

Bulama stressed that Africa was still facing monumental challenges of development and survival in the 21st Century because of the continent’s inability to use STI to successfully address critical problems related to healthcare, food security, water safety, affordable housing, electricity, environmental sustainability, among others.

“Today, the continent of Africa is grappling with the burden such Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Virus (AIDS) with more than 26 million people affected; 70 per cent living on less than two dollars a day; more than 40 per cent of the population lacking access to safe drinking water, and more then 70 per cent lack access to electricity,” he noted

He charged the board members to resist the usual temptation to interfere with the daily running of the agencies, reminding them that their duties were purely advisory.

His words: “The two agencies that we are inaugurating their boards today are strategic to the development of science and technology as well as vehicle for national development and transformation. The National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NACRIT) as established with the mandate to research into processes for the conversion of solid minerals, petroleum and agricultural raw materials into useful industrial chemical, petrochemicals and polymers and conduct research and development activities into industrial plastics and textiles and other synthetic materials. The Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST) was established with the mandate to provide courses of instructions, training and research in the field of leather product and conduct research and development in leather technologies and goods production. The two agencies are therefore, complimentary parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology that can make the realization of significant aspect of the transformation agenda of Mr. President.”

“Let me therefore urge the Chairman ad members of the governing boards to make to get abreast with the mandates of their respective boards. It is also pertinent to note at this juncture that the broad functions of the Boards are to deal with policy issues while the management carries out the day-to-day affairs of the agencies. I therefore urge you to clearly understand this distinction to avid mistrust and misunderstanding between boards and management which is a common occurrence in many agencies.”

He went on: “Governing boards of public institutions particularly research institutes like our dear ones bear an abiding responsibility to preserve and enhance a legacy of learning, scholarship, and free inquiry that is unique to the institution or establishment. They occupy position of trust that must be accountable to the public. They must also exemplify the highest standards of integrity. To accomplish these goals, a Board is set up to formulate policies and guide the Chief Executive Officer and management in discharging the task of leading the institution to achieve its mandate. Board members should, therefore, live up to expectations in such areas as oversight function.”

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