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Local technologists seek funding to reduce Nigeria’s N9bn machinery imports

Leading technologists and innovators are seeking funding support through research and development to reduce Nigeria’s imports of machine parts and equipment put at $9 billion last year.

The local technologists and innovators are led by Tochukwu Chukwueke, the convener of the just concluded Hardware Convention 2021 held in Aba, the commercial city of Abia State.

Chukwueke said negligence of the hardware sector is one of the major reasons Nigeria is suffering from a 33 percent unemployment rate (one of the highest in the world) and a 60 percent poverty rate.

“The hardware sector is responsible for producing and maintaining the tools, machines, and equipment required by the manufacturing sector which is a major employer of labour,” he said.

“Today, Nigerian industries rely heavily on importation for virtually all the machinery they use, putting more pressure on FX. Last year Nigeria imported machinery worth $9 billion, $3 billion for manufacturing tools,” he said.

He noted that the hardware sector is responsible for producing military equipment as well as several consumer goods such as electronics and domestic appliances.

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“Until we pay serious attention to developing the Nigerian hardware sector, Nigeria may never experience any meaningful development, job creation, or poverty reduction,” he added.

According to him, concerned stakeholders are nurturing a multi-industrial hardware innovation hub to drive the development of equipment and adoption of emerging technologies in Aba.

To achieve this, Chukwueke urged investors to support local fabrication and hardware hubs, adding that a lot is happening to grow the local tech sector.

According to him, a substantial portion of the innovations as one that is regarded as high‑tech products, especially those related to telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, and computer items.

He explained that there is hardware to support consumer electronics for domestic use, including a wide range of audio‑visual equipment, computer products, and telecommunications equipment.

He stated that there are local capacities for building hardware to power PCs, vehicles, electrical devices, adding local innovators are proving solutions to tackle numerous challenges the industry is facing exploring opportunities created by emerging technologies driven by conductor-enabled devices.

Through its Made in Aba initiative, Chukwueke noted that he and other innovators have been ramping up their efforts using financial incentives, to accelerate the development of its domestic semiconductor industry, and establish Nigeria as a tech leader.

According to him, Aba has become a geo focal point as the nation tries to secure the manufacturing base.

He pinpointed opportunities to bolster the nation’s competitiveness calling for support to hasten the development of a self-sufficient supply chain.

During the convention, industry experts canvassed the need to grow the local hardware industry.

The 2021 Hardware Convention was organised by Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC) – hardware start-up Incubator that provides training, mentoring, and equipment for young people to create engineering innovations, build indigenous products, and start-up technology businesses.

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