Nigeria announced yesterday that it would in the year 2018 launch a satellite manufactured in Nigeria into space.
Though details of the project are not yet very clear, Minister of Science, Dr. Abdu Bulama, said at a ministerial briefing in Abuja yesterday that the National Space Research and Development would facilitate the building and launching of the made in Nigeria satellite.
He said: "They (NASRDA) should be able to meet the target of 2018 to produce a Nigerian satellite."
Meanwhile, government said it had N171.85bn in the past five years through the scrutiny of technology transfer agreements entered into between organisations in Nigeria and foreign entities.
The Minister said the feat was recorded through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).
He highlighted how NOTAP had been scrutinising applications for technology acquisition from operators in the Nigerian economy, adding that the exercise had saved the country N171.85bn in the past five years.
His words: "The intervention of NOTAP has led to financial savings for the country, which would have been unremitted due to over invoicing of technology transfer fees.
"Since the inception of NOTAP, it has made a financial savings in billions of naira, due to its intervention in the process of evaluation and registration of technology transfer agreements."
The Minister spoke on how the ministry was now focusing attention on enhancing agricultural raw materials through a number of activities:
"The Raw Material Research and Development Council procured 1.6 and 2.0 tonnes of Samcot, 11 and 13 varieties of cotton respectively from the Institute of Agricultural Research, ABU, Zaria and distributed them to members of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria in six States including Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Edo States," he stressed.
He went on: "This is targeted at increasing cotton yield to feed the textile industry that is almost comatose due to insufficiency of raw materials or reliance on imported cotton resulting in undue competition.
"The Oyo State Sugarcane Farmers Union Limited was provided with 60 tonnes of sugarcane seeds for their sugarcane farm clusters.
"These programmes are projected to create 20,000 jobs along the agricultural and industrial manufacturing value chain over a period of 5 years."
He added that improved oil palm seedlings for one hectare of land expected to have shorter maturity period and increase the oil yield were through RMRDC procured for AICO Projects Limited.
President Goodluck Jonathan had last year launched the National Space Council with a charge to design a made in Nigeria satellite.
Members of the Council include the President as Chairman, the Vice President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Attorney General/Minister of Justice, Minister of Science & Technology, Minister of Communication Technology, Minister of Defence, Minister of National Planning, Minister of Education, Minister of Interior, National Security Adviser, Director General, NASRDA and Secretary to Council, Prof. V.O.S Olunloyo, Prof. Francisca Okeke and Prof. E.D. Mishelia.
Jonathan had charged the National Space Research and Development Agency to develop the capacity to design a made in Nigeria Satellite and launch the satellite from Nigerian soil in the very near future.
The National Space Council is the highest policy making body for space science and technology development in the country.