The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) is forming a stronger partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in a bid to strengthen its institutional capacity to drive sustainable and inclusive industrial development in Nigeria. This was at the heart of the discussion held between the Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo and UNIDO Country Representative and Director Regional Office, Dr. David Tommy, during his recent visit to the Institute. He advocated that the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in driving economic growth in Nigeria can no longer be taken for granted. There is no better time to practice the maxim; “Consume what you produce – Produce what you consume” than now according to Dr. Tommy.
He further observed that there is a mis-match between demand and supply in the labor market and as such there must be a conscious effort to relate University/Tertiary education curriculum with the required technical skills acquisition to make the graduates employable and reduce the importation of technical labor from Asia and neighboring African countries. He also advocated for a stronger linkage between the STI community, Investment Centers and the informal sector where a lot of innovative ideas have been seen to be springing up.
Dr. Gloria Elemo on a similar note called for a stronger partnership with UNIDO to address the challenges inherent in being able to translate local Research and Development outcomes and innovations into major commercial entities. She noted that a lot has been achieved by FIIRO in the area of finding utilization for all the agro-raw materials in Nigeria and over 250 commercializable products and technologies have been developed. She also noted that a change in mind set to believing in certified Nigerian-made products will go a long way to develop the economy. She shared the various ways in which the Institute is addressing the skills-gap in the labor market by collaborating with various S&T based tertiary institutions to expose their students to technical knowledge acquisition.
In closing the meeting both organizations agreed to partner together to provide capacity building, scientific data and strengthen the knowledge base of technology providers to bring about an inclusive industrial development in Nigeria.