A university don, Professor Olatunde Borode, has called on the federal government and stakeholders in the education sector to intensify efforts at promoting collaboration between universities and the industrial sector.
He said lack of synergy between universities and local industries is partly responsible for the downturn in the nation’s economy, industrial development and is a catalyst for other problems.
The don who also called on government to provide enabling environment for private sector businesses to thrive stated this while addressing the topic “Materials: Sine Qua Non for National Development” at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, 84th inaugural lecture.
The Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering decried the lack of adequate funding for the support of research and development which he explained had affected the growth and well-being of industries in Nigeria greatly.
Borode stressed that universities are set up to undertake research in addition to teaching and community service for the greater good of national development.
Borode, who disclosed that most industries in Nigeria are greatly import- dependent for raw materials which according to him could easily be sourced locally.
He cited the role of iron and steel in national development as a major part of all sectors of the nation’s economy, making critical reference to the automotive, building, architectural, health, transport, energy production, water supply, construction, surveillance, defense and weapon fabrication industries.
He added that the capacity of steel production in a nation has a significant bearing with the economic and technological development of a nation, noting however that by current estimate according to National Minerals and Metals Policy, the annual per capita consumption of steel in Nigeria is 10kg while the corresponding world average is 130kg.
In apparent steel consumption, Nigeria is lagging behind when compared with African countries like Algeria with 42kg/capita, Egypt with 36kg/capita and Zimbabwe with 25kg/capita he said.
Citing the UNDP report of 2001, Borode disclosed that Nigeria is the 13th poorest nation in the world with very low human development index despite her enormous and abundant human and material resources.
He therefore urged government to invest further in the consumption of iron and steel among other materials, whilst strictly maintaining its supervisory and regulatory function.