From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Nigeria will not get out of its economic mess until it goes into mass production of goods and services.
The Acting Rector of Auchi Polytechnic, Mustapha Zubair, stated this yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He, therefore, called for more investment in science and technology and mass production, stressing that buying and selling will only compound the contry’s economic woes.
“All we do now is buying and selling, you wait for somebody to produce and send to us, how do you develop?
“It is only when you are into production that you will determine what you want by fixing prices and other factors. But something you do not have control of they will have to dictate to you.
“Some of us were spurred to read engineering going by what we experienced in the late 70s and early 80s when you look at our manufacturing sector, but today, everything is dead.
“So, except we revive that and we see ourselves going into production and manufacturing by encouraging science and technology, I am sorry, if it is this buying and selling, we are getting nowhere. I doubt if our economy will grow this way.
“We have to invest in science and technology and encourage our younger ones to partake in it. Let them graduate and provide work for themselves.
“I am bitter when I see an engineering graduate becoming a bank worker, what is their business there”, he queried.
Lamenting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economy, especially in the education sector, Zubair disclosd that Auchi Polytechnic had to look inward to cushion the impact of the pandemic.
“We set up an engineering-based committee saddled with the responsibility of research areas that will help cushion the effect of COVID-19.
“It was the Committee, which I chaired, that came up with the fabricated handwashing machine, the dispensing booth aimed at combating the COVID-19 issue.
“We also produced sanitizers and branded face masks”, he said, attributing the success recorded to the support of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) which he said has aided number of staff to go into research.
“To a very great extent, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund is helping and I know it is aiding a number of our staff who are into research.
“There is an intervention referred to as Institutional-Based Research (IBR) that is normally released by TETFUND to all institutions. In Auchi Polytechnic, we make it open and anybody that throws in their proposals will be processed, and once approved you can have your money.
“Some of the facilities, for instance, that we used to fight this COVID-19 scourge were locally produced.
“Also, in the area of agricultural development and engineering technology, we have been making progress in terms of research”, the Rector further disclosed.