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Okowa Harps On Importance Of Economic Diversification

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said science, technology and innovation need to form the bedrock of the state and the Nigerian nation for economy diversification to thrive.

“with the dwindling price of oil, which is the main stay of the nation’s economy, coupled with the competitiveness in other alternatives, it has become evident that both the nation and the state need to channel attention to resuscitating and activating the development of its inherent potentials using science, technology and innovation basis for any meaningful approach”.

The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie stated this Wednesday at the 4th Delta State Council meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation, held at Ochid Hotel, Asaba.

He revealed that the state was keen on jump starting the innovative and inventive mindset among the youths by harnessing and encouraging indigenous, resourceful, self-sustaining ideas with the intended objective of industrialization.

According to the governor, the meeting is an appropriate forum where productive, diverse, scientific, technological and innovative information on research ideas, “which are beneficial and applicable in all sectors of the economy are conducted and results are also exchanged”, stressing that the meeting should facilitate the exploration of economically productive means and strategies to contribute to the state and nation’s economy.

Okowa charged the meeting to galvanize thoughts and submissions towards recommending implementable science, technology and innovation policies that would give “this state” even the nation, a leap into economic diversity, adding that it should assist in creating a veritable platform for small and medium enterprise investment, manufacturing of goods and services that meet international specifications and standards.

In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Joyce Overah, hinted that science and technology stands out as a veritable alternative for a sustainable economic programme.

The Commissioner who doubles as the chairman, Dean of Commissioners in the state, charged stakeholders to brainstorm with a view to constructing practical road map that would provide solutions to the people and government of the state and by extension, the country.

“I believe, we must not work as an individual but as partners to make the desired progress in our society”, noting that nations social-economic development are measured not by their natural resources but by the capacity of their human resource and technological advancement.

Overah, opined that technological development has the right relationship with the standard of living in any society, adding that “no state can achieve its development goals of food, security, economic diversification, health system development wealth and job creation, poverty reduction without the right application of scientific and technical knowledge”.

Papers on “science, technology and innovation for sustainable development in Nigeria, improving agricultural practices for economic prosperity and challenges of renewable energy development in Delta State” were given by Prof. Stella Chinye Chiemeke, rector, Ogwashi-Uku Polytechnic, Prof. Job Akpodiete, rector, Ozoro Polytechnic and Chief J.V.E Puegeren, respectively before entering into a technical session.