The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) has given N43.5 million to 121 inventors and investors that are winners of the Presidential Standing Committee on Invention and Innovation (PSCII).
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of FMST, who gave the grants to the winners on Tuesday in Abuja, said the grant indicated recognition of creativity and hard work for the year 2017.
Onu urged the winners to obtain patents for their prototypes as a means of protecting their intellectual property.
“I am very happy that this year, I am witnessing what we have now made an annual ceremony of recognising creativity, inventiveness and innovation among Nigerians, particularly in the informal sector of our economy.
“By transforming your idea into either a product or a service in the market place, it will become more self-reliant by reducing importation of goods and services from other countries.
“It is important that your intellectual property is protected. If you have any problem in doing so, one of the agencies under the supervision of FMST, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) can assist you,’’ he said.
According to him, the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to fighting and reducing poverty in the country through National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
Onu said that the grant award ceremony was important in creating entrepreneurs that could in turn create jobs.
In his opening remarks, the FMST Permanent Secretary, Mr Bitrus Nabasu said Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) played a big role in the informal sector by fostering research, development and innovation that led to new products and new markets.
Nabasu said PSCII was created in the quest to encourage indigenous investors/innovators that had uncommon ingenuity that could have positive impact on the Nigerian economy.
“The PSCII was inaugurated in 2005 by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to encourage invention and innovation in technology.
“ Also, to examine any research claims, commercial level and suggested how funds be sourced to finance the various stages of development from inception to prototype and finally to commercialisation.
According to him, 590 applications were received across the six geopolitical zones after advertisement for year 2017 award.
He said members of PSCII did verification and the applications were screened by the Technical Sub-Committee (TSC) by utilising Operational Guidelines of the PSCII.
“TSC thereafter selected 121 inventors/investors for the 2017 PSCII Grant award. The winners were grouped into three categories.
“Category one has 24 numbers of awardees with an award grants of N500, 000 per awardee.
“Category two has 54 awardees with an award grant ranging between 300,000 and 400,000 per awardee while category three has 43 awardees with an award grant of between N200,000 and N250,000 per awardee,“ he said.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Science and Technology, Prof. Robert Boroffice, commended the effort of FMST to drive Nigeria’s economy through the development of STI.
He said that government would continue to render support to encourage indigenous innovators in the nation.
“The Federal Government is set to further strengthen policy on utilisation of available local raw materials for speedy economic growth and infrastructure development,’’ he said.
PSCII was set up by President Olusegun Obasanjo and inaugurated by the Minister of Science and Technology in October, 2005. (NAN)