Federal Government has presented Cheques worth over N56 million to beneficiaries of the 2016 Presidential Standing Committee on Inventions and innovations (PSCII) Grants in Abuja.
The beneficiaries includes 56 inventors drawn from the six-geopolitical zones on merit who major in different walks of human endeavour.
The first three winners, Engr. Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu won N10 million for inventing the First Africa’s car Z600 and Emagnetodynamics machine. Sandra Aguebor, the (Founder/Executive Director Lady Mechanic Initiative won N5 million for breaking the jinx of women daring into the mechanic world and Yemi Oshifodurin who won N4 million for inventing welding Electrode that utilizes 80 per cent local raw materials for paint production and other goods.
Presenting the cheques, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu commended the beneficiaries for their ingenuity and charged them to be prudent in utilizing the funds.
He said that the aim of the grant is to help stimulate the interest of Nigerians to use science, technology and innovation for national development.
‘‘The idea is to give grants to local inventors to enable them improve and mass produce their inventions for use in Nigeria as well as for export to the international market.
‘‘Since inception in 2005, 188 Nigerians across the six geo-political zones have benefitted after satisfying the selection process.’’
The Minister while congratulating the beneficiaries, reminded them the funds given to them were meant to empower them to improve, mass produce, commercialize their products and where necessary register the patents.
Onu insisted that Nigeria’s future depends on the effective utilization of science and technology and innovation (STI) as tools for the economic development of our dear country and challenged the inventors to continue to improve on their creativity, inventiveness and innovations of using the grants.
‘‘Government is taking this action because your success will lead to the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) which will in turn enhance job/wealth creation in Nigeria.
‘‘SMEs are the greatest employer of labour and contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the affected countries. The money should not be used for any other thing. Our ears will be open as we monitor your progress.
‘‘I expect that new businesses will start arising from what we are doing today. Such businesses will be crucial to national development, economic growth and global competitiveness.
It is expected that through your inventions and innovations, in addition to other creative work you do, the challenge of youth unemployment, lack of self-reliance in our country will be reduced and Nigeria attains industrialization.
‘‘Nigeria is looking up to you. We are proud of you. We expect that this talents given to you will not be buried. Rather you will invest them to yield the desired fruits of accelerated development which will help us achieve a sustainable diversification of the Nigerian economy.
‘‘We cannot continue to depend on other countries by importing virtually all the things we need. This is the way to go. It is my fervent hope that Nigeria is gradually moving from resource based economy to a knowledge based, innovation driven one.’’
He promised to improve the level of the funding when the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC) is fully established and the National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF) becomes operational.
As part of efforts to authenticate the selection process, he said that members of the Presidential Committee visited each of the applicants with the view of authenticating their claims before decision was taken as it concerns the 56 Nigerians who have been selected.
According to the Minister, over 400 inventors submitted applications which were thoroughly scrutinized by the Presidential committee before arriving at the 56 beneficiaries, adding that the presentation was the highest amount so far disbursed at a single event since the programme started twelve years ago.
He however, invited the innovators to participate actively in the forthcoming Technology and Innovation Expo coming up in April 3-7, 2017 in Abuja.
The PSCII was set up by the Federal government in October 2005 to encourage and promote inventions and innovations in Science and Technology in the informal sector of the economy.
Responding, the first winner of the grant, Engr. Ezekiel; Izuogu commended the Minister for recognising them and promised to put the fund into good use.
Engr. Izuogu said Nigerians cannot be underrated in terms of creativity and invention because has a lot to do with Nigerians.
‘‘Science and technology is the main thing for any country . It is the main thing for Nigeria’s survival in her economy. Inventors change the world. The richest man in the world, Bill Gate made his money through his inventions in computer.
‘‘I designed and manufactured the first car in Africa 20 years ago and produced it Z600 but that’s not why am here. I am here because of the research on alternative energy sources, which we embarked upon. Science said it is impossible to build emagnetodynamics machine that’s what we have built for the world.
139 countries are already patenting it and 50 have already perfected the patenting and are celebrating it worldwide .
‘‘We must not underrate Nigeria. God has a lot to do with Nigeria, if Nigerians will agree.
I am very happy I was here, I listened to Nigerians, they are thinking people, they are thinking on how to change the world.
‘‘Our emagnetodynamics machine is for the poor, it changes the state of poverty. I celebrate the 10 million but it is very small pertaining to 139 countries of the world, in all this places we have lawyers and workers which 10 million can’t pay up to 10 countries. For the first time Nigerians are recognizing those who are working day and night for Nigeria, it is good for the country,’’ said Izuogu.