Engineer Mohammed Jibrin is the Director General of National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), one of the parastatals of the federal ministry of science and technology that is charged with the responsibility of grooming entrepreneurs, develop new products and monitor graduates of the programmes to ensure their continuous stay in the market. A holder of doctorate degree in engineering, he enumerates some of his achievements since taking over the leadership of the centre in this interview with ACHIRI IGIRI-WEST of The Hawk Newspaper.
On the core mandate of the board
The board is one of the 17 parastatals of the federal ministry of science and technology. The technology incubations programme is an integrated support programmes of government at all levels including other stakeholders. It aims at commercializing research programmes targeted at economic development of the country. You know there are many institutions including universities and other specialized institutions with mandate of carrying out research and development but with disconnect to economic development of the country. Technology incubation is therefore out to bridge that gap. Right now we have over 32 incubation centres in almost all states of the federation with few exceptions but which discussions and work are in progress. When I came on board, I met 21 incubation centres but now there are 32 with Benue being the youngest of them. Other states; Yobe, Jigawa, Ebonyi, and Rivers will soon join the train. Some of these states have provided us temporary accommodation, others have provided us land and so before long all states of the federation will benefit from our services. One great stride we have made is our move to make information and communication technology (ICT) form part of our programmes. To make our plans in this direction see the light of day, we have sent a memo to national council on ICT to incubate ICT and make Itech part of our programme. We have already created a department in our permanent site to make all graduates of ICT to learn to develop hard and soft wares. Robot, laser, nanotech and all will form part of this all important programme.
On patent rights for products of incubatees
I like to announce to you that we have graduates of our programmes whose enterprises are already listed in the stock exchange; a ready example is Austin Laz. We also have Messers Tabitha Ltd which developed a bio remediation product to clear waste matters based in Yenagoa, Niger Delta. A fire retardant product also developed by another and pure honey by Messers Ashayi in Minna, Niger state. We have entered into memorandum of understanding (MOU) with manufacturers association Nigeria, (MAN) where products from our centres are made available to over 400 super markets. So we are in discussions with relevant authorities both within and outside the country to get patent rights for our incubatees to attract investors to the country.
Can he comfortably say the centre is meeting its mandate?
Yes, sure, with our products developed, nurtured to finishing at various sales outlets, we are meeting our mandate. Again with 1,870 products from our incubatees in the market, we are meeting our mandate. With 32 entrepreneurs providing employment to hundreds of workers, direct and indirect, contributing to reduction of poverty, contributing to reduction of idle hands on the street that would have increased anti-social ills, we are sure meeting our mandate. The provision of park sites for graduate entrepreneurs in Matori and Idumota in Lagos state is as a result of our activities. Kano state just awarded contract for expansion of our centre in the state to accommodate more; this is because they have seen our inputs in the economic life of their states.