Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, yesterday, said, the National Bureau of Statistics has said that the country spent N43 trillion for the importations of goods between 2010 to 2016.
Speaking at the 15th National Council of Science and Technology with the theme: “Nigerian Economy and Innovation” held in Benin City, Onu said the huge resources spent on the importation of goods and services was the result of negligence by the country to invest in research and technology.
He said nations that have attained greatness have always traced it to science and technology and that Nigeria cannot afford to be left out, adding that the country was bound to witness tremendous development considering its current technological approach and drive.
The Minister expressed optimism that the resolutions that would be reached at the end of the event would further enhance the development of the country.
For his part former minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Emmanuel Emovon, said for the country to attain its pride of place technologically, it must develop its manpower while science and technology subjects must be encouraged in schools to catch the students young.
“Manpower is the hub of the wheel of scientific and technological development. So, the impact of Research and Development to fulfill the goal of raising the living standard of the society depends on the products of the education system.
“Science and Technology must therefore be taught at all levels-primary and secondary for mass mobilisation, for science support, tertiary for researchers and technology manipulators”, he said.
He however blamed inadequate funding as one of the constraints militating against research and development in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, while welcoming participants to the programme, said this was the first time the state was hosting the National Council of Science and Technology in 30 years, after hosting it under the defunct Bendel State.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner of Science and Technology, Emmanuel Agbale, said the meeting was apt considering the state of the nation’s economy. He said the country is gradually moving away from the era of depending on crude oil for its survival, adding that the meeting will enable the country review and chart a new course to revamp its technological base.
Obaseki said the state has taken its steps to implement the resolutions reached at the last meeting held at Oshogbo where it was said that state must establish the ministry of science and technology.
He said the state has also gained from its implementation as it has helped curb leakages and fraud in the civil service.