The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Uche Ekwunife PhD, has called for the development of the Nigerian economy beyond the oil sector, noting that investment in science, technology and innovation is the surest way to better the nation’s economic fortunes.
Ekwunife said this on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, while presenting the lead debate on the bill seeking to establish the National Innovation Agency for the facilitation of development, improvements, promotion, coordination, exploitation, commercialization and regulation of research outputs and related matters. The bill which was presented at plenary for second reading was sponsored by Senator Ekwunife.
Presenting the bill to her colleagues, Ekwunife said that the passage of the bill will lead to the development of the nation’s economy beyond the oil sector, stressing that oil may not be sustainable in the near future.
The Senator told the Senate that countries like China, Japan, India, etc are global economic giants today yet they do not have a drop of oil. “India, for instance, rakes in a whopping $140bn annually from ICT- based solutions and services.” She remarked.
“Many countries such as Germany, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, etc that have towed this line of having a National Innovation Agency have witnessed tremendous benefits and are today among the most developed countries of the world. Nigeria can enjoy same.”, Ekwunife said.
The federal lawmaker further said that the bill is of national interest and importance as the Agency will drive the process of diversification of our economy. “Mr. President, this Bill has the capacity to engender transformation in our national life.”, She added.
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Continuing, the Chairman Senate committee on Science, Technology and Innovation remarked that ideas abound in Nigeria but the nation’s undoing has been the lack of a proper and structured harmonization of these ideas. “A proper coordination of funding of innovation will be better handled by the establishment of this agency. We know that innovations that are not funded may never see the light of day and can not be utilized.” She argued.
At the end of the debate, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the committee on science, technology and innovation and tasked the committee to report back within four weeks.
It is important to note that when the agency is established, it is expected to be located in Awka South local government area of Anambra State.