The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says the Federal Government is putting the necessary measures in place to reach its target of moving 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
On Friday in Enugu, during a one-day working visit to Projects Development Institute (PRODA), the minister said that for the country to effectively achieve the goal, research institutes in Nigeria must take advantage of the abundant natural resources in the country to innovate, create jobs and wealth.
He said that the 16 agencies in the ministry were central to the achievement of the presidential declaration of ensuring that Nigerians had a greater future within the next 10 years.
The minister also said that the African Continental Free Trade Area would further afford Nigeria the opportunity to further achieve the goal.
Onu said that PRODA was a very important research institute that needed to take the lead in the job creation and diversification mantra of the current administration.
The minister said that though he was satisfied with the progress so far made by PRODA in the last four years, “you need to further demonstrate that PRODA is not dead.
“You may not have all the resources but you must show that you can work.”
On the proposed pencil production plant in the institute, the minister said that the desire of the Federal Government was to see that the raw materials for the production of all the components of the pencil were sourced locally.
“We have graphite, wood and clay in abundance. PRODA should be able to do the beneficiation of these raw materials,” he said.
The PRODA pencil project is being revived and over 21 key equipment have been procured, some installed and others awaiting installation and test run.
He said that the multiplier effect of sourcing the raw materials locally would be invaluable as millions of Nigerians would be gainfully employed along the pencil production value chain.
Onu said that Nigeria had the potential to dominate the African Continental Free Trade Area if the necessary things were done by the research institutes in the country.
“I want PRODA to work harder because you have a very good history. Pay attention to energy storage and develop the expertise,” Onu said.