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Agu, the Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy Department, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), made this known in an interview in Abuja.
“There is need for a paradigm shift from how things were done in the past when it comes to research.
“We need to identify what we call emerging technologies and create what is known as marketable skills.
‘’These are skills that are in high demand,” he explained.
Agu also stressed the need to patronise local products, technologies and processes.
‘’That is why I am very happy with the local content policy, which was passed by this current administration and also the executive order. In the sense that most of the time, we feel uncomfortable to patronise our products because we feel they are inferior.
‘’But with this passage of the law now, that will actually project most of the start-ups or indigenous companies to the next level because research cost money,” he said.
Agu, who described the law as a laudable initiative, called on the government to create an ecosystem that would identify talented young people to create a knowledge-based economy.
‘’What I mean by talents is that we are no longer looking at the people that are certificated; people that are educated. We have people they call makers.
‘’They don’t necessarily have the certificates or papers to prove that they have undergone the training but they have the knowledge.
‘’So we need to look at that direction. For example, they are in Computer Village in Lagos and Coal Camp in Enugu.
‘’All these areas are where we have naturally talented young people where we need to take them to the next level.
‘’This will help create a knowledge economy, this will help create an ecosystem where other people will be trained under what is called train-the-trainer concept,” he said.
The expert also identified funding as an important factor, saying ‘’it is not enough to have an idea”.
He advised that financial institutions in the country needed to review their conditions for funding innovative projects.
‘’We need a situation where financial institutions like Bank of Industry will re-jig their parameters for funding projects for goodness sake.
‘’How can you ask me to get a collateral when I’m just a starter? Banks look at quick-win, they don’t invest in innovations.
‘’So these are things the government needs to come up with to lower some of these bottlenecks involve in accessing technology fixed funds to help promote innovations,” he said.