The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said the partnership that exists between the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc. leading to the upgrading of the chemical laboratories of three research institutions/facilities in Nigeria was capable of fast-tracking the local content initiative of the present administration.

Dr. Onu made this assertion during the commissioning of the state- of- the- art Chemical Analysis Equipment donated by PZ Cussons Plc. to upgrade the Chemistry laboratory of the University of Calabar, Cross River State.

The Minister stated that Nigeria can no longer continue to be a consumer nation but rather strive to upgrade her innovation facilities to ensure that indigenous products and services are developed and utilized.

He further stated that the world emphasis has shifted from resource to knowledge based economy and that no country will be reckoned with without being technologically relevant and competitive to the extent of producing world class products and services from its knowledge industry.

He recalled that the journey towards donation of the laboratory equipment to UNICAL and two other Institutions by PZ started with a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), one of the seventeen parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

In his opening remarks, the Director General of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim said in the cause of carrying out the registration of technology transfer agreements which is the primary function of NOTAP, it was discovered that over 90% of the technology powering the Nigerian economy are foreign and for a country that is striving to develop, that was not very healthy.

He disclosed that the partnership began when NOTAP noticed that most of the research and laboratory analysis of the multinationals in Nigeria are carried out outside the country due to lack of state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and other research facilities in the country. NOTAP, he said, then approached PZ Cussons Plc. to assist in upgrading the laboratory of some universities to ensure that high level laboratory analysis are carried out within the country.

Dr. Ibrahim added that in order to change the trend and launch Nigeria into the league of technologically self-sufficient nations, there was need for the multinational companies to give back to the society through what he termed 'Corporate Social Investment'.

According to him, PZ Cussons Nig. Plc responded by donating the sum of N115 million for equipment and logistics to upgrade the chemical laboratories of the University of Calabar, Moddibo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH) Yola and National Research Institute for Chemical Technology(NARICT), Zaria. He added that MAUTECH and UNICAL have been commissioned while that of NARICT will be commissioned before the end of the first quarter of this year.
He expressed appreciation to PZ Cussons Nig. Plc. for showing a high sense of responsibility to the Nigerian nation through this strategic partnership, adding that it is through such gesture that Nigeria will eventually transform her knowledge into socio-economic solutions and assets that will bring about sustainable national development.

In his address, the Chief Executive Officer of PZ Cussons Plc., Mr. Christos Giannopoulos said he was glad that the MOU signed some months ago with NOTAP, and the three benefiting institutions has started yielding results with the successful commissioning of two laboratories. He added that PZ Cussons Plc. is involved in supporting research and education as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.

Mr. Giannopoulos further revealed that in the last few years, the company had executed 55 capital projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country, adding that 80% of the projects are in the area of educational development.

He said the formulation of products involves laboratory research therefore upgrading Laboratories in Universities and Research Institutes was very crucial in finding solution to the company's production challenges.

He therefore challenged the students and staff of the institution to maximize the benefit of the state-of- the- art Laboratory Equipment.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Zana Akpagu thanked NOTAP and PZ Cussons Plc. for the kind gesture and trust reposed in the Institution and promised that the equipment will be put into proper use and maintenance.

He called on researchers and students of the institution to maximally utilize the state-of-the-art laboratory equipment donated it for skill development, research and innovation purposes.