Monday, April 21, 2008

Uwaje canvasses increase in R & D

Chief executive, Connect Technologies Limited, Chief Chris Uwaje, has canvassed increase in research and development (R&D) in Nigeria, decrying the current rate, reports GERALDINE OKOLIE.

Considering what other countries of similar structure are doing, he said science and technology in Nigeria is very low and as such, needs much attention in terms of technology focused- literary works.

Chief Uwaje made this call while reviewing a book on Fifty years of Technology Transfer by Dr. David Akosa Okongwu.

He applauded the author, noting that the Anambra-born expert knows his onions, and added that the book launched last Thursday in Abuja, analyzed the countries sojourn of 50 years in the world of human knowledge and civilization.

He said that Nigeria’s research and development including the science and technology ministry is about 0.06 per cent compared to South Africa and China.

Dr. Okongwu who also is the Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), was at various times Head of Department of Metallurgy and Metallurgical Engineering between1983 and 1988 as well as Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Technology between 1986-1988 at the Federal University of Technology ( FUTO) Markurdi.

Uwaje equally described his first encounter with the book as digitally magnetic with visible difficulty to disengage from reading it, stressing that he was fascinated by the style used by the author.

According to him, the book presented some valuable lessons learnt by Nigeria with respect to technology acquisition for national development.

Some of these, he listed, to include that transfer of technology is a complicated process involving a matrix of cultural, socio- economic, environmental, intellectual, infrastructural, political and other related factors.

He further said that the country’s effort at technology transfer have to contend not only with the widening innovation gap between her and the developed countries, but also with the nations poor culture of innovation as well as the rapid changes in and the shortening life span of innovating cycles.

In addition, Uwaje said that although technology inflow was appreciated, the internalization of technology was inappreciable, indicating that the review by Dr. Okongwu, which spanned between 1956-1987 saw massive importation of capital goods and establishment of very critical industries.

“The trajectory of Nigeria technological development so far appears to resemble that of the movement of an individual staggering about in the manner of a Brownian motion, or more correctly a sleepwalker on a platform that is moving rapidly in the opposite direction, so that the net motion of the sleepwalker is really backwards,” he said.

One of the key issues often neglected with transfer of technology he pointed out “is how to construct a receptor to capture the transferred technology and ensure that it is fully internalized to enable it blossom and glow to create similar new technologies on its own within a given time frame without external support.”

According to him, it is only then that technology could be said to have been transferred.

Without a deliberate receptor programme, Chief Uwaje said, technology would be a chance thing indeed.

“There must be massive increase in research and development expenditure to yield a national research and development intensity of at least 1.0 percent within the next six years that is by 2014,” he said.

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