As the federal government struggles to resuscitate the recessed economy, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, (FIIRO), said Nigeria’s abundant resources presents it with opportunities for economic diversification, with key focus on strong linkage of research outputs with industry needs.
Nigeria is engaged in efforts to wriggle out of recession, with the Buhari government mulling a borrowing plan to support its budget deficit. But Gloria Elemo, the director general of FIIRO argued that stronger linkage between the research institutes and Nigeria industries would assist in reviving the economy.
“In FIIRO, there is a strong tie between our research findings and the industry. We do a lot of R&D, and these researches would have to be transferred to accredited fabricators. When the fabricators come here, we accredit them, and provide them with further training on the technology we are transferring to them. We also keep track on their progress and offer professional advice,” the director general told BusinessDay on the sidelines of the recently held Science Expo in Abuja.
She also noted that FIIRO has over 200 researched technologies that may be of immense benefit to entrepreneurs. The technologies which are locally domesticated and easy to access are available for both big and small businesses.
Speaking further on stronger ties of industries and research institute, she cited the example of NASCO which had a need to improve the nutritional content for school age children with appropriate mineral nutrients that will help brain development. FIIRO, she said, was able to solve this need using their technologies.
However, Peter Onwualu, a former director of Raw Material Research and Development Council,(RMRDC) has argued that the linkage between research and Industry in Nigeria is still weak, forcing industrialists to quickly jet out to other countries for technologies they would have accessed here.
He suggested to the Federal government to ensure there is a low interest grant to support proper industry and research institutes. These, he said, would deepen their ties, and lessen industrialists’ over dependent on importation of raw materials especially with the persistent fluctuations of dollar.
“It takes a Managing director that has a vision to properly link up with research findings of our research institutes. NASCO example could be replicated if there are proper risk management and low-interest
grant for industries relying on R&D of research institutes,” Onwualu said.