ADEFOLARIN A. OLAMILEKAN
The dawn of a new year, as always, presents an opportunity to take stock of events of the past year and strategise for a more economic productive year activities.
Unfortunately, this past year was indeed very challenging for Nigerians, especially with surging inflation in food prices, unemployment, COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity.
In today’s world that we live in, complex engineering technology innovations is the biggest sector that generates employment.
A look at the Asian Tigers and Asian Combs economy focus implies. The demonstrations of technology to enhance the stability and sustenance of their economy as priority.
Over the years, as a nation, we overlook this angle of global capitalist and developmental state core strategy for economic development.
For us the challenges our country is facing today from poverty, unemployment, insecurity, corruption, and other related challenges require innovative engineering technology.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval and presentation of the 195-page National Development Plan 2021- 2025, a part of this document details the focus of the nation on usage of local technology in crude oil and gas explorations.
We consider this as laudable and foremost to economy development.
This also goes with earlier Presidential Executive Order on Science and Technology as well as the President Buhari directive to the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to be at the forefront of technology linkage to economic development.
Meanwhile, the Amended and signed Financial Act 2021 is empowering NASENI with 0.25 per cent levy on commercial companies, along with the NASENI Statutory Fund of 1 per cent of the Federation Account.
To this end, the pride of our local technology and development of Nigeria economy is not far fetch.
Interestingly, as ideas and innovations technology of various areas of interest for Nigeria such as agro- allied machines and equipment for mechanised agriculture, power, energy, health, laboratory equipment, military vehicles, weaponry and ammunition, water infrastructure, construction equipment, ICTs soft and hardware, solar and wind energy products, automobile parts and many others.
We are much aware that with our local technology, security equipment can be manufactured here in Nigeria. Armoured personnel and bulletproof vest and others are already being produced. If this could be sustained, it would help us to improve and acquire many more technologies for the development of Nigerian economy, especially in the energy, security and agricultural sector.
Agro allied machines and equipment from that would not just help our farmers to improve their farm mechanization, but would enable them to overcome inequality and develop the potential that exists in the country side to create economic resilience and sustainability.
Other areas our technology could work and further aimed is helping local farmers in food production and increase productivity.
Meanwhile linking our raw agricultural produce from primary, secondary and to tertiary manufacturing sectors, supply of finished products and semi-finished products. Is a big plus from our home grown innovative engineering technology.
However, the level of optimism about our local technology should be scaled up as a form of patronage and acceptance.
As we look forward to better economic outing in 2022, we must however be mindful of our obligations as a nation, charging our policy and decision-makers
to see the applicability of local technology innovation.
As part of our economic strategies, it is imperative to revive the sickly economic system, which is import-dependent. For us, this cannot be over-emphasised and we call on all patriotic citizens to remain steadfast in our commitment to upholding our local technology.
Nevertheless, our modest way forward is first to enhance institutional capacity and strengthen our production in the Nigerian economy system.
Secondly, we must as a nation deliberately seek a paradigm shift in deploying technology, amongst others, to create jobs, address poverty and also empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This is fundamental so that Nigeria’s manufactured products can compete both at local and foreign markets.
Thirdly, while we recognise and appreciate the role research institutions play in economy developments, there is no doubt that the enormous task of building a veritable and modern technology system for the country remains unfinished.
As a developing nation, we must continue to innovate, incubate, experiment and research to enhance our research output to meet local, regional and global standards.
At the same time, we must improve on the requisite skills and capacity needed to adequately fulfil our technology mandates.
Fourthly, a comprehensive review of the scientific and technological methodology is needed with a view to fully embracing local contents. These efforts would further flourish our cottage industries and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
As we expect support at the Federal, state and local government level, in addition, we must ensure advocacy efforts to be properly sensitised regarding the imperatives of local technology in addressing our economic needs to prevent misinformation, especially in a political season we are today in.
. Adefolarin A Olamilekan
Political Economist and Development Researcher