Government to establish science and technology development bank

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

Stakeholders seek law on patronage of Nigerian vehicles, spare parts
Greater days are ahead for the nation’s innovation industry, as the Federal Government yesterday announced that it was setting up the nation’s first science and technology development bank.

The bank, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology, would help boost the process of technological development in the country by giving financial assistance for research and innovations.

Minister of Science, Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who dropped this hint at a meeting with the Motormechs and Technicians Association of Nigeria (MOMTAN), in Abuja, explained that, the bank would be different from the regular banks and would focus on attractive longer term facilities, which people in the innovation industry can take advantage of.

He said: “We already have a programmes whereby we are working on establishing a science and technology development bank. We believe that it is important. It will help our people in the informal sector. It will also help us to close technology gaps in the country so that as a motor mechanic, if you need financial assistance you can get. If you go to a regular bank, they may not have the resources to give you for three to four years for innovation before paying back.

“They won’t do that because they don’t have that kind of money. But a science and technology development bank will do so because you will be a venture capital holder of such bank.”

He charged the Association to develop research capabilities to enhance their activities and the capacity of their members.
“We want your members to play a greater role in research and innovation. We want you to do some research. Research is not only done in laboratories. If in the process of maintaining vehicle you find a way of improving any of the systems in the car, it is already an innovation and the process is a research,” Onu charged.

Speaking earlier, President of the Association, Dr. Akin Oseni, charged government to respect the provisions of the National Automotive Policy, and restrict car import, stressing the need to patronize cars locally made ones.

He noted: “In chapter four of the National Automotive Policy, it is clearly stated that government and her agencies should purchase locally produced automotive vehicles and spare parts for all their programmes and projects, but there is no law in this country compelling them to equally patronize our local mechanics and technicians.

“ That itself is a missing link. In countries like South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa and Indonesia, they invested in their local artisans heavily to attain the height they are today. According to the Federal Road Safety Commission’s plate number issuing office, records show that over nine million cars entered Nigeria between 1999-2009 and between 2009-2014 just between periods of 15 years. Then we can begin to imagine how many cars, trucks and buses are running on the Nigerian roads and then resume discussion on the importance of our mechanics and technicians.

“ For any meaningful development in the nation’s automobile and allied sector in particular and science and technology in general to be achieved, it is important that many issues are to be examined or re-examined.”

He called for a deliberate plan to be put in place for the training and retraining of mechanics and technicians with provisions of adequate tools for them.

He also called for an intense made in Nigeria and buy Nigerian vehicles campaign. On what the Association expects of government, he noted: “ The Federal Government should develop ancillary industries for the production of car components and accessories and involve our mechanics in full. The Ministry of Science and Technology should establish a research department that includes mechanics and technicians as committee members. The government should ensure that vehicle standards are maintained. Let government build and develop local technical and maintenance expertise though the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“Another big challenge is the inconsistency in the issuance and retainership of the mechanics works yard popularly called mechanics villages.”
He called on government to release the land already allocated to the mechanics since 2010.

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  • stan Emelogu

    Are we making pencils yet? Wake me up in two years after we make our first Nigerian pencils.

    • amador kester

      Dont lick the kindergarten pencils yet . Other nations are going into space!

  • Uchenna Ugokwe

    Another noise in the air to insult our sensibilities. The bank will be another conduit for stealing.
    What is needed is not a new bank but an environment that encourages people to enter into partnerships without fear. Because of our useless justice system that is only in place for the highest bidders, many people run away from partnerships.
    Hitherto people only partner with whom they feel they can trust. Trust is good in partnerships but control is much better. The confidence that one can get justice easily will unlock people’s pockets to finance ventures. Believe it or not that trader in Idumota or the other electronics merchant is brimming with cash, the problem is how can you convince him to finance a technological venture.
    For enduring technological advancement, financing must be business driven not sentimental government involvement. If you watch the documentary :THE MEN WHO BUILT AMERICA you will understand what I mean.
    Another call has gone out for establishment of research centres, the question is proda, naseni, fiiro etc currently doing. I recently opportuned to visit one of the naseni workshops, I saw that a determined person can manufacture even a space shuttle in that place without outside help given the type equipment is installed there. The operatives while away their time waiting for the next government allocation. It is disgusting.
    When are ready for technological advancement it will be very clear to all and sundry not this sentimental noise.

  • amador kester

    Nice step,right direction,long overdue

  • Ogbonnaya Okike

    Why do Nigerian leaders always back on ways to siphon the merge economy? There are universities and research centers all over the country and none of them is financed to go for the smallest work. Things (talks) are always mixed up and down, here we talking about research and technology and immediately jumped to motor mechanics and repairs. Can anyone mention any motor part manufactured in Nigeria. Nigeria cannot at this time produce a bolt, but the noise is going on. License is given to 36 companies or individuals to start manufacturing cars. Does the world as a whole has 36 car manufacturing industries? If Nigeria wants to develop then many things are to be looked into and very well examined.

  • emmanuel kalu

    This is a nice step, however we already a lot of research agencies that are looking for funding. They need funds to bring their many research item to market. So this bank should focus on funding those item and marketing them.

  • Patrick Nrialike

    Doc, you can do better than this.