As part of efforts to drive innovation and improve economic growth in Nigeria, Oando and its Joint Venture (JV) partners, Nigeria AGIP Oil Company (NAOC) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have called for improved priority on research and development in the country.
Speaking during the second edition of Oando JV’s Research and Development Exhibition, tagged “Research and Development Forum/Exhibition of Emerging Technologies” held in Abuja recently, the General Manager, Commercial, Oando Energy Resources, Akinbambo Ibidapo-Obe said advancement in different sectors of life in developed economies were made possible because of innovations, research and development.
He said: “At Oando, we believe in the popular saying “Innovate or Die” which can rightly be attributed to our success story to date. In a unique terrain like ours, innovation in financing, geosciences, information technology and all facets of our operations are crucial to business survival. Research and innovation are pertinent to the development of not only your company but the sector, country and the continent at large.
“That is why forums and initiatives like these are laudable. It is our responsibility as sector leaders and good corporate citizen to champion initiatives like this to promote innovation in the sector and country through research by supporting and encouraging the brains behind these innovative technological solutions and ideas.”
Addressing the forum as well, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director, NAOC/NAC/AENR, Mr. Lorenzo Fiorillo, said the aim of the event was to avail the proper set of circumstances for the academia, research institutes and indigenous companies to unveil their newest technological innovations since these can mitigate the lingering problems faced by the oil and gas sector, which in turn will invariably improve the growth of the economy.
Currently Nigeria spends a meagre 0.2 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research and development activities in spite of the one per cent set by the African Union.
Fiorillo mentioned that the priorities, or lack thereof, are obvious when one considers that the average sub Saharan Africa government spends less than 0.5 per cent of GDP on backing research, adding that the OECD country average was more than four times that at 2.3 per cent. “Some countries have recognized the importance of research and development and committed, a couple of years ago, to increasing investment in science and technology to reach 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2020 and one per cent of GDP by 2025, which is yet to be done by most African countries.”