The Federal Government on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, formalised arrangements for the transfer of technology from the Czech Republic to Nigeria.
Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said this to State House correspondents in Abuja.
The inauguration was performed by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was fully represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
Katagum said that the MoU was focused on technology transfer between Nigeria and the Czech Republic as Czech Republic was one of the countries in Europe which had vast amount of technology.
The briefing was after the Inauguration of Implementation Committee of Memorandum of Understanding between Czech Republic and Federal Republic of Nigeria on Technology and Joint Research.
“In the yesteryears, we used to send our students to the former Czechoslovakia, as it was called.
“So, now, this cooperation is between the Nigerian government, represented by National Agency for Engineering and Science Infrastructure (NASENI), and the Czech Government, represented by the Technology Agency of Czech Republic.
“Looking at agriculture, mining, MSMEs and how we can collaborate to enable us to get some skilled training so that when we have particular tasks that we need certain machinery, we could developed the machinery.
“We need to transfer this knowledge, and, then NASENI, using its own members of staff and research and development, will be able to adapt these technologies to suit the Nigerian situation.’’
According to the minister, there are other emerging areas which were discussed such as the use of Artificial Intelligence.
She said there were a lot of young Nigerians who were into Information Technology and were developing a lot of devices that helped to make our tasks easier at homes, offices and factories among others.
“So, how do we get these young people to be part of this particular project?
“And that’s why in our discussions, we have to bring in agencies of government such as the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and Bank of Industry (BOI).
“We also have to leverage on the organised private sector because there is a lot to learn from the private sector; a lot of resources there that we can tap,’’ she said.
According to her, the MoU has an implementation timeline of 2024.
On his part, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, Executive Vice Chairman, NASENI, said that the agreement was for the mutual benefits of the two countries.
He said that the agreement would bridge the technology gap between Nigeria and developed nations.
Haruna said that President Buhari had approved the implementation of the MoU.
“There are inputs from relevant ministries through participation of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from this relationship.
“NASENI is so chosen to be the secretariat of this implementation because it is within its mandate to proliferate technologies.”
He said that the agency is “to facilitate the domestication of the technologies of other nations for the benefit of our own small and medium scale enterprises and to help in the industrial development of the country”.
He said that there was technology gap between Nigeria and other nations, adding that Czech Republic was one of the counties in Europe that were advanced in technology development.
The NASENI chief executive said that Nigeria, on the other hand, had its own benefits as it had the population and the demand capacity, but lacked the technology, which meant there were benefits for everyone.
“In Nigeria, NASENI has been producing, for example, one of areas for immediate translation into practical benefits is agriculture, agricultural equipment, processing, machinery in agriculture.”