Science ministry developing economic policy to tackle Covid-19

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the world has been in chaos and confusion in such a way that most developed and developing countries are resorting to innovative measures to curb the virus. BINTA SHAMA reports.

Indeed Nigeria has not been left out in this sudden and challenging global turn of affairs because it is generally believed or said that it is in difficult moments that you identify the true strength of one. In history of time, every Nigerian today and those to come will know that coronavirus made the nation take a new turn which in the real sense has turned in the nation’s  advantage, which is seen as a blessing in disguise.

Covid 19: Humanity embracing a new turn

Adding to the above, the pandemic has really changed the activities of humanity across the length and breadth of the world in such a way that despite post COVID 19, every person will be cautious of how to operate both in public and private places. It is no longer news to say that the pandemic has taken over the routine of humans like the way they interact with each other, conduct or go about doing their businesses and trade, travel, educating the children both at the lower and higher arm of academics and as well earn livelihoods for themselves.

Just recently the federal government in a speech by the Head of Affairs, the President, Mohammadu Buhari in a nation-wide broadcast during the second lockdown said that COVID 19 had brought in certain  changes in so many ways amongst humanity, and thereby directed certain levels of Ministers to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for Nigeria economy functioning with COVID 19 pandemic to improve the economy.

“The outbreak of COVID 19 has really and greatly changed the world in so many ways. To ensure our economy adapts to this new reality, I am directing the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education respectively, to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for Nigeria economy functioning with COVID 19 pandemic,” Buhari stated.

Science to curb coronavirus pandemic

Sketching down to the innovative sector, in what is seen as a deserved recognition of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in national reckoning, where Mr. President enlisted the Ministers of Science and Technology among others to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a Nigeria economy functioning with covid-19 in order to improve the economy.

According to a press release by the Director Press and Public Relations Abdulganiu Aminu, that “the enlistment of the Honourable Ministers to the high profile Committee did not come as a surprise to experts in the Science and Technology sector.”

Moving further, that following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Science and Technology Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and the Minister of State, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi have been proactive in rising up to the challenge.

A Ministerial Committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Muhammadu Bello Umar was hurriedly constituted by the Honourable Minister. Needless to say, the Ministry had all along been working behind the scene, even before the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, through intensive research to find solution to numerous challenges confronting the country.

In view of this, the Ministry’s intervention has been through effective mobilisation of scientists in its 17 agencies across the country.

Though the report of the Committee as submitted to the Presidential Committee on COVID 19 is still shrouded in secrecy, feelers from the grapevine is quiet revealing.

NASENI’s inventions to curb the spread of coronavirus

From the facility visit by the Honourable Ministers to its headquarters, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), has a lot to offer to curtail the spread of Corona Virus in the country through the safety tunnel and simple chambers made from home-grown technology. The technology is designed for installation at public places such as offices, big supermarkets, churches, mosques, banks and hotels.

Others by NASENI are environmental disinfectant delivery devices meant to disinfect streets, feeder roads and major roads. Furthermore, the electromechanical ventilator and advance ventilator ensued by NASENI will go a long way in feeling the gap in the medical technology.

On another hand, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA), a flagship agency of the Ministry has developed a mobile clinic buses equipped with necessary gadgets for diagnosis in both urban and rural areas.

RMRDC saves Nigeria trillions of naira in imports reduction

The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) can also help in the production of pharmaceutical grade starch used in industries.  This will go long away in saving Nigeria a lot in import reduction

The RMRDC had, in 2017 and 2018 saved the country 1 trillion naira through reduction of import of raw materials while creating over 900,000 jobs in the country.

Likewise, the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI) has trained many entrepreneurs on the production of hand sanitizers in its incubation Centres spread across the country. It has also designed mechanical chambers for disinfection.

Similarly, the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), is into production of bio-ethanol hand sanitizers. It also has two existing molecular biology laboratories in Odi, Bayelsa state and in the Agency’s headquarters which could be made available as testing Centres for Covid 19.

The Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), based in Abuja also has the capacity to produce hand sanitizer of high quality.

The Biotechnology Advanced Research Centre of the complex can also be used as National Testing Centre for Covid 19 pandemic.

The complex can also produce rapid diagnostic kits to achieve below 30-minute test, in line with World Health Organization assured procedure.

The National Research Institution for Chemical Technology based in Zaria is also into the production of environmental foam spray formula, metal nanomaterials and others. 

Aside from the foregoing, with the various policy initiative of the Ministry like Executive Order 05, the National Strategy for Competitive in Raw Materials and Products Development, the National Leather and Leather Products Policy Implementation Plan and the recently launched National Policy on Methanol Fuel Technology, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is poised to change the narrative of economic blueprints of the country.

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