President Goodluck Jonathan now eats locally produced rice and bread made from cassava as part of efforts to encourage indigenous production and stop capital flight, says Minister of Information Labaran Maku.
Maku disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at the Ministerial Platform where the Ministries of Science and Technology, Defense, Niger Delta Affairs and the FCT presented their performance sheet in the last one year.
“The President is emphasising made in Nigeria products; if you go to the President’s house today, he eats rice produced in Ebonyi State – Abakaliki – Ofada Rice; the imported rice is not eaten in the Presidential Villa.
“Also there, he eats Cassava Bread that has just been introduced, which is saving Nigeria almost N300 billion in imports.
“From what is going on, if we emphasize and urge Nigerians to patronise the things that are researched and produced here, the country will develop.” He said that the country would develop only when Nigerians begin to patronise goods researched and manufactured locally.
While commending the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology for its research-based development efforts, Maku said a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy was required to promote national development.
Maku called on all stakeholders in the country to take advantage of the vast opportunities in science and technology to develop the country.
“The new Science Technology and Innovation Policy remains what is going to be the prop for the development of science and technology in our country.
“We never can develop as a nation until we pay attention to science and technology; the difference between America, Europe, Asia and us is the emphasis on science and technology and human capital development.
“I want to assure you from what you have seen that intellectual property, creativity, is what we need to advance the development of our country.”
The minister urged the science and technology ministry not to relent in promoting scientific and technological research and development, so that by 2015, a lot of the demands in Nigeria would be met.
Maku also called for collaboration between the defense and science and technology ministries for the local production of military boots.
According to him, Nigeria has a large market, which has always attracted investors. He, however, urged Nigerians to play significant roles in meeting the needs of the market. (NAN)