Government to increase spending on STI

Peduase (E/R)- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said government intends to increase significantly spending on the development of Science, Technology and Innovation to make Ghana’s economy dynamic, sustainable, self-reliant and globally competitive.

He said Ghana’s development could only be fast-tracked when the use of science and technology were prioritized, thus the thrust of his Government’s policy towards national development was anchored on promoting and ensuring that science, technology and innovation drove all sectors of the economy.

The President made this known when he addressed the national conference on Bridging the Technology Gap, at Peduase in the Eastern Region.

The conference, which brought together scientist, engineers, technocrats, and people from the academia, both locally and from the diaspora, seeks to kick-start the process of bridging the technology gap to enhance the mainstreaming of Science and Technology into Ghana’s economic and social preoccupations.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in collaboration with the Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), and the Mastercard Foundation.

President Akufo-Addo said countries that have transitioned from under-development to development have done so the back of the application of Science and technology, insisting that there was no reason for Ghana’s to be different.

Thus, his administration, he said, was going to increase funding for Research and Development on Science Technology and Innovation, which was currently negligible.

That is why I have pledged that a minimum 1 per cent of Ghana’s GDP will be applied towards R and D in the short to medium term, to be increased to 2.5 per cent in the long term. I am determined that this pledge be met, he said.

In order to achieve the objective, President Akufo-Addo explained that sectoral policies, programmes and strategies are being implemented on the basis of the overall National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy.

That is why, he said, government is building a strong partnership with public research institutions, the scientific academic community and industry, indicating that the impending establishment of the Ghana Innovation and Research Commercialization Centre (GIRC-Centre) would serve as the bridge between the Government, public research institutions, academia on one hand, and industry on the other.

The GIRC-Centre would also provide incubation centres with basic facilities that Ghanaian innovators would need and add a further perspective to the work being undertaken by the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan.

The President told the gathering that his government attached “extreme importance” to the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at all levels of the nation’s educational system.

MESTI and the Ministry of Education are, together, promoting the teaching and learning of STEM throughout the entire educational structure of the country. STEM education will strengthen immeasurably the impact of the Free Senior High School policy, he added.

To ensure the continuity of the implementation of policy on STI, President Akufo noted that the framework for the STI programme ought be backed by legislation “to give it teeth”

He said legislation was being drafted for an STI Bill to be approved by Parliament to facilitate the implementation of the STI Policy, and also institutionalise statutory backing for the policy.

President Akufo-Addo revealed that MESTI was collaborating with the Ministry of Education to set up a Foundry and a Computer Numerical Control Machine Tools Centre both in Accra and Kumasi, as part of the focus on developing strategic technologies and centres of excellence across the country.

These facilities will be engaged to manufacture tools, equipment and instruments to support key sectors of the economy such as agriculture and industry. The goal of this initiative is to accelerate industrialisation, help solve the problem of widespread unemployment in the country, and help generate wealth that will stay in the country, he said.

The President was optimistic that with the full implementation of the various STI policies, we will begin to see clearly the contours of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”

It will be a prosperous Ghana, whose economy is led by an entrepreneurial and innovative private sector. It will be a country serving as the regional hub for financial services with full employment, low poverty rate, stable currency and low inflation, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency