By Anthony Areh
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, says Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be increased through application of science, technology and innovation to the development of natural resources and products abundant in the nation.
Onu said this on Thursday in Abuja during a visit by Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger-Delta, to his office.
He said the ministry had enunciated policies like the Executive Order 05, which is centered on giving preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts.
According to Onu, the policy places premium on the use of indigenous professionals and firms in the design and execution of projects involving national security.
He noted that the national strategy for competiveness in raw materials and products development in Nigeria was designed to provide a permanent strategic framework.
The minister said this framework would help the country overcome the burden of a mono-product economy and promote diversification.
Onu said that the policy was targeted at enhancing national capacity to produce globally acceptable quality raw materials, products and services as a way to achieve self-reliance.
He said the federal government would continue to support development of modular (artisanal) refineries, to help the country generate more revenue, benefit more from the by-products of crude oil and develop the manufacturing capacity.
Earlier, Ita Enang said the purpose of the visit was to partner with the ministry to ensure that modular refineries were reintegrated into the mainstream refineries for the benefit of the country.
According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to pay subsidies on petroleum importation, rather petroleum has to be refined locally to save foreign exchange.