2021 science ministry’s budget majorly for youths, says Onu

Onu

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the ministry’s 2021 budget is centred on addressing the various demands of Nigerian youths, employment and wealth creation.

He spoke when he appeared for the budget defence session of the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology in Abuja yesterday.

The minister said some 2,500 research products had been in the marketplace through the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), adding that the agency had also groomed a good number of young Nigerian entrepreneurs in micro-level enterprises.

Onu further told the committee that policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration were tailored to promote to youths’ inclusiveness in scientific endevaours

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According to him, the National Science and Technology Road Map was to redirect the economy from dependence on raw materials to one driven by technology and innovation as centrepiece of all economic activities.

In a statement signed by Director of Press in the ministry, AbdulGaniyu Aminu, the minister highlighted the National Policy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development formulated to promote economic self-reliance.

He explained that the document was also to enhance national capacity in a bid for Nigeria to produce globally acceptable raw materials, products and services, noting that the Presidential Executive Order 5 would enhance economic nationalism by giving preference to local firms in the award of contracts.

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The new methanol fuel production technology, he added, would attract investment in the oil and gas sector, while also creating jobs for the teeming youth population.

Onu said 20 organisations have signified interest in partnering with the ministry on its implementation, stating that methanol “is a wonder chemical from which 1,000 products could be produced.

He pointed out that the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science Technology (NILEST) has come up with 2,100 products to help youths kick-start micro businesses.

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In her remarks, chairperson of the committee, Beni Lar, said the recent #EndSARS protest was a wake-up call for government agencies to come up with initiatives that create jobs for “our teeming youths.”

She canvassed better budgetary allocation for the ministry for the most populous black nation to attain economic and technological development.

Lar cited China and other Asian nations that allocate more than 20 per cent of their budgets to science and technology.

She also called for a strategic plan to productively engage the science and engineering graduates nationwide.

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