By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Senior Correspondent Lagos
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has commenced a regional stakeholder’s forum to put machineries in place to strengthen the implementation of the NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF) scheme for efficient and speedy technology development of the Country. The process of strengthening includes review of Bond (agreement) with the stakeholders and implementation guidelines.
This is contained in a statement sighted by Cyber Era NG and signed by Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu on behalf of the Head, Public Relations and Protocol Unit at NOTAP.
Speaking at a one day interactive meeting with key stakeholders of the scheme made up of the beneficiaries, their supervisors as well as the sponsoring companies at Kano for the Northern region, the Director-General of NOTAP, Dr DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim said that there was need to look into the existing agreements signed between the Office and beneficiaries of the NITTF programme with the view to making some amendments to reflect the experiences gained from the inception of the scheme in 2015.
The Dr. Ibrahim noted that in carrying out one of its statutory mandates, NOTAP discovered a huge gap between the academia and the industry especially in linking Research and Development (R&D) results to the manufacturing sector of the economy. He stated that in order to address the weakness and bridge the gap in the process of acquiring and adopting foreign technologies in Nigeria, NOTAP initiated a programme known as NOTAP-Industry Technology Transfer Fellowship (NITTF).
He stated that based on some noticeable lapses in the agreement as well as the implementation guidelines, there was need to review the documents to address the challenges and reflect current realities, all the stakeholders will adhere strictly. He added that the beneficiaries of the NITTF scheme under the agreements were to furnish the Office with quarterly reports of their progress and challenges but in most cases, they waited for the Office to demand for that before they sent their report. He also noted that as part of the agreement, the sponsoring companies were supposed to allow the beneficiaries undertake industrial visit to their facilities for practical experience.
The NOTAP Boss further stated that the scheme was for three to four years sponsorship but according to him, some candidates were able to graduate within the stipulated time while others had spent over seven years, hence the need for the interactive meeting to ascertain what the challenges were and proffer solutions where applicable.
Also while declaring open the Southern region NITTF stakeholders forum held in Lagos recently, the NOTAP boss,who was represented by the Director Consultancy Services of NOTAP, Dr. Adamu Tandama noted that the Office was established to regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the Country through the Registration of Technology Transfer Agreements and at the same time promote the development of indigenous technologies. He added that the Office carried out the registration of technology transfer agreements after evaluating the agreements under three major perspectives; economic, legal and technical.
The DG at NOTAP stated that sometimes agreements were drafted abroad by the foreign technical partners without recourse to the laws of our Country and when such infractions were noticed during evaluations, such agreements were usually not registered. He further noted that some agreements were drafted without taking cognisance of the need for capacity building in the technology transfer components to ensure the development of skilled critical mass for socio-economic development of the Country.
He said that the NITTF scheme was an initiative designed to develop the technical competencies of young and talented Nigerians with master’s degree but had unwavering interest in academia to pursue their doctorate degrees in any field of choice by the sponsoring company. He added that multinational companies usually embarked on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by building schools and digging boreholes for their host Communities which, according to him, was good but could be better by building capacity of the citizens, hence the introduction of NITTF for manpower development.
The NOTAP helmsman ncouraged the beneficiaries and other Nigerian researchers to first file for patenting of their inventions before publishing their R&D results in any international journal as according to him, any research finding that was published before filing for patent was already in the public domain and could be exploited by anybody. He encouraged more companies to show interest in the scheme so that some of their challenges which hitherto were referred to their mother companies abroad could be solved within the country at quicker and cheaper rates. The NITTF stakeholders fora for North and South achieved the set out objectives as areas for improvement have been identified