July 9, 2018.
In its bid to re-launch the economy and position the Nation to compete with the world power, the Federal Government on Monday unveiled Presidential Executive Order No. 5 aimed at fast tracking development of science and technology in Nigeria.
At the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) in Lagos, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu while addressing Journalists at the World Press Conference on the Presidential Order said the document was for planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts, science, engineering and technology.
He said the government was committed to full turnaround of the economy stating that no administration has ever shown such commitment to strengthen the role of science, technology and innovation in nation building than the present administration.
According to him, the government of President Muhammadu with the order has recognized the use of science, technology and innovation as well as the effective participation of young people, professionals, and indigenous contractors and consultants in affairs of the country.
“In the history of any nation, there comes a time when critical decisions have to be taken in order to quickly move to a new level of development, so as to effectively protect and secure the citizens. The Executive Order No. 5 could not have come at a better time than now.”
The minister added that the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) 2017-2020 has recognized that science and technology will drive productivity and economic activity in all sector.
Onu said the government expected that in the next 10-20 years, Nigerian companies and firms would compete at the world level for projects and contracts in international tenders.
The minister explained that the Executive Order entailed procuring entities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms when awarding contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2017.
Speaking further on the order, the minister said:”Based on this, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, shall establish centers for acquisition of technology in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This will be used for the promotion of technology utilization, strengthening of technology management capacity and information system.
“All foreign experts working in Nigeria have to be certified by the appropriate regulatory bodies. In such cases, efforts will be intensified to train Nigerians to have the same skills.
“No expatriate quota will be granted unless such skills are completely unavailable. In some special cases, foreign experts will be admitted into Nigeria under a special immigration classification so as to share knowledge with Nigerians” said the Minister.
Making his contribution during the event, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, Dr Qasim Akinreti who represented the National President of NUJ, Waheed Odusile urged the media to be optimistic about the order.
He implored the media to dissect the document and owned the process in order to be able to challenge the government should they failed to live up to the content.
“The duty of the media is to serve as the watch dog of the society therefore we should hold the government accountable and make them fulfill their promises. The document is about Nigeria and not any political party so we must assist the government by reminding them constantly about their commitment to science and technology.
Director General and Chief Executive Officer of FIIRO, Dr. Mrs. Gloria Elemo thanked the media and called for effective participation in the Nation’s affairs.
She said for the country to develop we must support the research institute to come up with scientific findings that could improve the economy.