National Centre For Technology Management (NACETEM) has emphasised the need for the country to develop massive human resources in science and technology to drive innovations for sustainable development.
It noted that human resources should include core scientists in the field of natural sciences, medical sciences, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, and mathematics.
The Director-General of NACETEM, Prof. Ukwuoma Okechukwu stated this at a sensitisation workshop on the survey of scientists and engineers in Nigeria research institutes.
According to him, the quantity and quality of these vital human resources are important indicators of a nation’s Scientific and Technological (S&T) efforts; he, therefore, emphasised the need for Nigeria to have internationally comparable data of her S&T workforce.
He said: “In recent times, a combination of Science and Technology and the skilled labour force is regarded as a key factor for national competitiveness, economic development and environmental well-being. The rate at which technological innovations are being developed and applied disrupts the catch-up efforts of developing countries and widens the inequality gap.
“Specialised skilled labour force and professionals are a necessity if countries are to overcome challenges of the destructive creations emerging from new technologies.
“More so, it is important to mention that the recent Covid-19 pandemic shows that countries without the required technological capabilities are bound to suffer either from the life-threatening side of the disease or the impacts of its economic devastations. Countries that are with high scientific and technological capabilities are in the race to launch and trade in drugs, test kits, personal protective covers, vaccines and other related products in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hence, the national competitiveness and catch-up strategies of developing economies largely depend on efficient deployment of scientific know-how and commercialization of technology-based products and services.”
Prof. Okechukwu added that the application of technologies to broad-based issues could improve several aspects of socio-economic development and environmental wellbeing ranging from pest-resistant crops to low post-harvest losses; from vaccine development and disease prevention to maternal care and child health; from the reduction of environmental contaminants to the purification of water; and from stable electricity to more efficient and affordable communication and mobility systems.
The workshop brought together participants from the Ministries of Science and Technology, Ministries of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and some professionals from the Academy of Science, Academy of Engineering and Nigeria Society of Engineers among others.