President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the country’s lack of technological innovation in comparison with developed nations.
Owing to this realisation, the president has tasked the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to bridge the gap.
This development was disclosed by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari directs NASENI to bridge gaps in COVID-19 research, technology’.
Buhari said, “The uniqueness of the mandate of NAENI as enshrined in its enabling law towards the actualisation and realisation of our development programmes such as creation of 10 million jobs; Economic Recovery and Growth Programme and post COVID-19 sustainability plan.
“It is only deliberate deployment of Engineering, Science, Technology and Innovation using technology domestication and reverse engineering of capital goods; making them available in Nigeria that can fast-track realisation of our collective will to build capacity and reduce poverty among our teeming populace.
“The countries that are at the forefront of economic recovery have only one thing in common: investment and sustained research and development work in knowledge economy.
“COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the Technology and innovation gap between us and the developed World, which NASENI is strategically positioned to fill.”
The president, in the statement, added that he has directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to remit approved funds to NASENI to commence implementation.
He said, “However, in order to realise its full potential, NASENI must be empowered through the provision of adequate financial, human and material resources and be given the autonomy and independence to forge international partnerships to acquire the relevant technologies for socio-economic and industrial advancement of the country.
“In this regard, I have directed the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Federal Inland Revenue Service to commence remittance of funds approved by Law to the Agency.
“It is important for members of NASENI Governing Board to note that Agencies of Government with similar mandate as NASENI in many countries are directly under the supervision of their respective Heads of State and Government.”