From Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama has solicited for collaborative support from Britain to fully develop and leverage on some key components of Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda as they affect Science and Technology in the areas of Space Technology Programme, Biotechnology, Agriculture and Medicine. “Nigeria’s existing and fruitful partnership with Britain over the years” according to the Minister, “has been beneficial and has yielded positive impacts.”
Giving the benefits that accrued from this mutual ties, he said, there was need for consolidation and improvement with the view to help the Ministry in particular, to achieve full implementation of its new revised policy on Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Minister stated this when he granted audience to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock and his team in his office in Abuja.
According to him, “we want to partner with you in the area of Science, Technology and Innovation which is our statutory mandate as a Ministry.”
Dr. Bulama said the Ministry will leverage on the offer by the British Government through its Newton Fund which supports research and development outputs in the sector.
The Minister further called on the British Government to implement a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries to establish a West African Science Innovation Network in Abuja. He said the establishment of the National Research Council as an apex body for the coordination of all research activities in the country will draw support from the West African Science Innovation Network when it is put in place.
He stressed that Nigeria’s Space Technology Programme has come of age as it had launched three Satellites’ in the past which incidentally was supported by Britain. He said currently, the Ministry through one of its agencies, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) is developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite which will be helpful in the area of security, mapping out our solid minerals deposit and, also to monitor the coastal areas of Niger Delta.
Again, in the area of commercialization of the research and development results (R&D) which are useful to industries, the Minister said, funding in this area would strengthen the research institutes to achieve a lot.
While speaking earlier, the British High Commissioner, Dr. Andrew Pocock said he was in the Ministry with his team to seek for Nigeria to be an active partner in Science and Technology like South Africa has been.
He said the British Government has put about $750 million in the Isaac Newton’s Fund to support research and development. He reiterated his home Government’s commitment to assist Nigeria to actualize its programmes in the areas of Space Technology, Biotechnology, Solid Minerals and Agriculture.
Dr. Pocock said the British Satellite Technology Limited would equally support the Space Programme of the Country as it is currently developing its new Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite.
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