The Swedish Embassy has expressed willingness to collaborate with the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in building capacity for Nigerians in science, technology and innovation.
Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl Michael Grans made this known, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Director- General of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim, in Abuja.
He said that the capacity building initiative of the Consulate to Nigerians has become necessary in order to meet up with the fast-changing dynamics of world economies occasioned by technological advancements.
He disclosed that the Consulate had undertaken capacity building workshops for different organisations in Nigeria including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with the support of Ericsson, the largest Swedish company operating in Nigeria with staff strength of 230, adding that about 35 Swedish companies are currently operating in Nigeria with the attendant value addition to the economy in terms of knowledge and infrastructure.
The Ambassador said he was in NOTAP to learn about its activities describing the agency as a very important organisation. While commending it for its efficient regulatory role, which has created the enabling environment for international businesses in Nigeria, he called for enhanced support towards Swedish businesses in Nigeria.
In his remarks, DG, NOTAP, Ibrahim said the office was established by the government with a mandate to regulate the inflow of foreign technology and promote development of indigenous technologies.
He decried the present situation in the country whereby over 90 per cent of the technologies that power the economy are imported, adding that no nation that is aspiring to be economically independent should fold its arms and allow business as usual.
He added that in order to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign technologies, the office initiated several programmes like the NOTAP-Industry Partnerships to provide the much-needed synergy between the academia and Industry that will lead to Research and Development (R&D) and by extension the development of products and services.
A statement signed by NOTAP Head, Public Relations &Protocol, Solomon D. Nshem, made available to The Guardian, quoted Ibrahim as saying that in advanced nations, most of their research is being sponsored by private companies because of the strong synergy between academia and Industry.
“There must be a deliberate effort to see our private sector and academia work together. The advanced world has a strong synergy between academia and industry which has led to the development of products and services and that is what we want in Nigeria,” he emphasised.
The DG noted that NOTAP’s intervention in strengthening research activities in Nigeria has led to the institution of the NOTAP-Industry Transfer Fellowship (NITTF) being sponsored by private companies to train intelligent Nigerians with master’s degree to PhD level who will in turn provide the much-needed manpower for technology development in Nigeria.
He added that 15 candidates have so far been enrolled in the scheme sponsored by companies like Nestle Nig. Plc., Airtel Networks Nig. Ltd, Frieslandcampina WAMCO, Julius Berger Plc., PZ Cussons Plc., Promassidor Nig. Ltd, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dufil Prima Foods Ltd and Procter & Gamble.
The NOTAP boss further said that under another partnership with Industry, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc had committed N115 million for the upgrade of threeChemistry laboratories at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Alex Ekwueme University Ndufu Alike Ebonyi State and National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria respectively.
He added that the positive impact of the upgrade of the three laboratories were acknowledged by the PZ research team when they visited the facilities and has encouraged the company to further commit the sum of 360 million naira for the upgrade of six additional laboratories, one in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He expressed appreciation to the Swedish Ambassador for the visit and said that NOTAP will continue to support any foreign company willing to do business in Nigeria within the ambit of the law adding that with the ongoing automation process of its technology transfer registration process which is about 90 percent completed, the Office is geared towards enhanced service delivery.