ABUJA, JULY 12, 2017 – Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, has said that a recommendation by the ministry in its Roadmap would create a separate bank that will fund research and development, R&D, in the country.
The minister said the recommendation follows a fresh thinking by the government to move the economy from resource to knowledge base, a new area of intervention that will fortify and trigger an industrial revolution.
Onu who was on tour of some industries in Lagos said the ministry had made the proposal in the Science and Technology Roadmap having realized the importance of research in promoting industrialization and the vexed issue of huge interest rate charged by banks.
“The federal government has taken the decision and firmly commits itself to move away from the resource-based economy to knowledge-based economy and this requires intense research which is germane to building a virile industrial base.
We understand the constraints faced by industry operators to access funds given the high-interest rate, so we intend to intervene in this area by proposing a bank that will be capitalized to take away the interest rate burden off the industry. So we have taken it into consideration in the Science and Technology that span through 2017 to 2030”, he said.
Responding to requests by the management of Fidson Plc, a wholly indigenous pharmaceutical company, when he visited the firm’s corporate office in Lagos, the minister, said Nigeria is highly endowed in terms of resources but yet could not feed herself.
“Today the federal executive council has taken a hard stance in the area of procurement such that any resource that can be locally sourced must not be importance henceforth. My tour of the industries is to encourage you and facilitate your interface with our research institutions. Our research must be market driven and we will take the risk in its commercialization process”, the minister assured.
Speaking further he said the visit to Fidson Plc is significant as it was the first To a wholly indigenous firm on a unique date, 7/7/17, and the date will ever be remembered during when he assured that government would not relent nor renege in its commitment to raising local industrial capacity in order to grow the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, create jobs and promote socio-economic development.
Earlier, executive director operations of the company Mr. Biola Adebayo said the Nigerian Pharmaceutical industry requires support and special government intervention to promote medicine security.
Adebayo said the company has made strategic investments to grow the sector but the environment is not supporting such investment plan, adding that interest rate has inhibited access to funds while there is an insufficient interface between the industry and research institutes, thus placing an extra financial burden on the sector in the area of research and development.
“I want to appeal to the honourable minister to intervene and see how the government will help bring down the interest rate which is in the neighbourhood of 30-35 percent in some cases. What we want is a Single Digit Fund, we have a lot to contribute to save lives as well as create employment,” the director added.