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Innovators Seek Research Funds to Reduce Machinery Imports

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By Sodeinde Temidayo David

Nigerian innovators and technologists have asked for the availability of research funds to enable them to produce machine parts and equipment to reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

This was revealed at the Hardware Convention 2021 organised by Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC), which was held in Aba, Abia State.

CIC is a hardware startup incubator that provides training, mentoring and equipment for young people to create engineering innovations, build indigenous products and start-up technology businesses.

At the convention, different professionals canvassed the need to grow the local hardware industry.

Also, innovators converged at the Hardware Convention to seek funding assistance to stop the revenue leakage as Nigeria’s machinery imports were about $9 billion while $3 billion was expended on manufacturing tools.

According to the convener of the Hardware Convention, Mr Tochukwu Chukwueke, the neglect of the hardware sector is one of the major reasons Nigeria is suffering from a 33 per cent unemployment rate and 60 per cent poverty rate.

“The hardware sector is responsible for producing and maintaining the tools, machines and equipment required by the manufacturing sector which is a major employer of labour.

“Today, Nigerian industries rely heavily on importation for virtually all the machinery they use, causing Nigeria to lose a lot of foreign exchange and the Naira to depreciate in value.

“Until we pay serious attention to developing the Nigerian hardware sector, Nigeria may never experience any meaningful development, job creation or poverty reduction,” he added.

Also, the hardware sector is responsible for producing military equipment as well as several consumer goods like electronics and domestic appliances.

Mr Chukwuwke further revealed that concerned stakeholders were nurturing a multi-industrial hardware innovation hub to drive the development of equipment and adoption of emerging technologies in Aba.

He urged investors to support local fabrication and hardware hubs, and that a lot is happening to grow the local tech sector.

Furthermore, the convener stressed that a substantial portion of the innovations is the ones that are regarded as high‑tech products, especially those related to telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and computer items.

He also explained that there is hardware to support consumer electronics for domestic use, including a wide range of audio‑visual equipment, computer products and telecommunications equipment.

It is seen that local innovators are providing solutions to tackle numerous challenges the industry is facing exploring opportunities created by emerging technologies driven by conductor-enabled devices.

With the Made in Aba initiative, innovators have been about to build up efforts employing financial incentives to develop the domestic semiconductor industry and establish Nigeria as a leader in the technology industry.

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