NNN: Professor Linus Asuquo, Managing Director of the National Metallurgical Development Center (NMDC), advised the federal government to make research and development its priority to grow the economy.
Asuquo gave the advice at a Monday press conference in Abuja.
He said developed countries have made it a priority to invest sufficient funds in research and development.
“Research and development is capital intensive and most countries in the world invest between three and four percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) in research and development.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has increased the fund for research and development from 0.1 to 0.5%, but this is insufficient if we are to move forward in this country on research and development.
“Research and development must be our priority if we want to grow in this country, if we want to diversify our economy,” he said.
He said the NMDC needed sufficient funds to carry out its research and development mandate.
Asuquo said the center was established in 1973 as a research laboratory, but the equipment was “very outdated” when he took office in July 2018.
“I was appointed GM of NMDC in 2018 and when I took office I faced many challenges.
“The center looked like an abandoned place in terms of lack of facilities, infrastructure and capacity building, among others.
“I also discovered a lack of security, poor power supply and a lack of research and development equipment, but all these problems have been resolved since I took office.
“Obsolete equipment has been replaced with state-of-the-art equipment for meaningful research and for mineral analysis; apart from that, we have equipment to analyze cases like building collapse in the country.
“There was a need to restructure the management for effective and efficient management of the place, so I had to reduce certain departments and restructure them by placing the right people in the right places.
“The center now has efficient management, we have a workbench and an alternative power supply in all our laboratories for efficient analysis,” Asuquo said.