Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Nigeria is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Czech Republic for technology transfer to the country.
Against this background, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, inaugurated a committee to implement the initiative yesterday.
At the inauguration ceremony, which took place in the State House, Abuja, representatives of various ministries, departments and agencies of government were in attendance.
Nigeria’s interest in the partnership will be represented by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) while Technology Agency of Czech Republic will represent the European country.
Elucidating on the initiative at a press briefing after the ceremony, the Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NASENI, Professor Mohammed Sanni Haruna, said plan has mutual benefits for both countries.
According to him, Czech was chosen because it is noted for advanced technology while Nigeria has huge population that Czech will explore.
Haruna listed target areas for deployment of technology in Nigeria to include agricultural development and solid minerals.
“This was for the inauguration of the implementation committee of memorandum of understanding between Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on technology transfer and joint research for the mutual benefits of the two countries, but most importantly, for bridging technology gap between Nigeria and developed nations.
“The Czech Republic is represented by Technology Agency of Czech Republic, while Nigeria is represented by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
“Mr. President has approved the implementation of the MoU and there are imputes from relevant ministries through participation of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from this relationship.
“NASENI is so chosen to be the secretariat of this implementation because it is within its mandate to proliferate technologies, to facilitate the domestication of the technologies of other nations for the benefit of our own small and medium scale enterprises and to help in the industrial development of the country.
“You’ll agree with me that there are technologies between Nigeria and other nations. Czech Republic is of the counties in Europe that are advanced in technology development.
“Nigeria on the other hand has its own benefits; it has the population, the demand, but we lack the technology, which means there are benefits for everyone.
“In Nigeria, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has been producing. For example, one of the areas for immediate translation into practical benefits is agriculture; agricultural equipment, processing, machinery in agriculture. So, also is in the area of solid minerals and other industry, these key areas,” he said.
Also speaking to journalists after the ceremony, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum, explained that the agreement would create opportunities for the youth in the areas of information technology and artificial intelligence.
“This is focusing on technology transfer between Nigeria and the Czech Republic; and as you are very much aware, the Czech Republic is one of those countries in Europe that have vast amount of technology and in the yesteryears. We used to send our students to the former Czechoslovakia as it was called.
“So, now, this cooperation is between the Nigerian government represented by NASENI and the Czech side of the divide.
“What is going to happen? There are 11 thematic areas —.agriculture, mining, MSMEs and how we can collaborate to get some skilled training that when we have particular tasks that we are doing with certain machinery and there are better machinery that could be developed, we will be able to transfer this knowledge,” he said.