The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday urged Nigerians, particularly job seekers and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), to take advantage of Technology Incubation Centres (TICs).
He said they could explore opportunities that would help actualise their dreams at the TICs.
Onu spoke during his visit to Spectra Industries Limited, a food processing and packaging company in Lagos.
He said if job seekers and SMEs with potentials reach out to the TICs, they could find the space and support they needed to achieve successful businesses.
It was reported that the aim of the visit was to show Nigerians that dreams of individuals could end up in success stories.
Onu said he decided to come personally to see what the organisation had accomplished because its success story wasn’t for the company alone but the nation’s.
He said that if the nation was importing virtually everything, the implication was that there would not be industries where people could find jobs.
The minister said: “Naira is depreciating because of the intense pressure on it to meet foreign exchange demands for our imports.
“There’s no way we can be producing cocoa seeds and we’ll be importing cocoa powder.
“We want Nigerians to know we have technologies in our research institutes; we must do more, we must make sure that all good research findings are used,” he said.
Onu commended the organisation for its vision and doggedness of maintaining its standards, which could be compared to that of international best practices.
“If other Nigerians can do this, many of our problems will be considerably reduced.
“I want you to never lose sight of your vision to be a global leader in functional food processing,” he said.
He assured the organisation that his ministry would consider all the issues raised and give the support they needed to succeed further.
The Chief Executive Officer, Spectra Industries Ltd, Mr Duro Kuteyi, said food processing companies could achieve more if there were solutions to some of its challenges.
Kuteyi, who started the business through sales of plantain chips, said the challenges include inadequate access to government intervention funds, excessive power bills and government’s preference of purchasing from contractors, instead of manufacturers.
He noted that Nigeria could also import machines from Europe to process some of the goods that were imported.
Kuteyi appealed to government to ensure that manufacturers had access to its intervention funds.
Mrs Modupe Kuteyi, Executive Director of the organisation, said that food processing was the solution for post-harvest losses experienced in Nigeria.
She said that the organisation had collaborated with agencies such as Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and Bank of Industry (BOI) to promote training in food processing and packaging.
The executive director urged other food processing organisations to be passionate in ensuring that farm produce do not waste.