THE diversification path the nation has embarked on calls for a number of inventions and projects of high quality to add momentum to the process.
It should no longer be ‘business as usual’, for our scientists as the need to come up with innovations that enhance the diversification programme is more urgent now. The onus is on our scientists to make inventions to boost the focus on industrialisation.
It is in view of this that we agree with acting Minister of Higher Education, Sylvia Chalikosa, who said it was not good enough for scientists to amass degrees but fail to use their skills to contribute to national development.
Ms Chalikosa, who was speaking in Lusaka during the General Assembly of the Zambia Academy of Sciences urged scientists to produce innovations and projects of higher quality that can attract financial support from national treasury.
Scientists, in any nation, are cardinal in contributing to the achievement of the development agenda. Their knowledge is applied in industry and technology to bring about innovations or create inventions that make processes easier to conduct.
Nations that have depended on scientists and recognised their importance have developed their industrial base, a necessity for each country’s economy.
In the case of Zambia, industrialisation is the way to go because of its many benefits such as its ability to make more goods available to consumers and that is why Government is keen on industrialisation.
This is because production, through the use of machinery makes the goods more abundant and we know that the more the goods are the cheaper they become. The goods are, made available to a large part of the population.
The nation saw how in the 80’s, there were shortages of some items because they were not locally manufactured or some of the ingredients were not locally available. Such goods fetched a high price where they were available.
Industrialisation helps an economy to run more efficiently. With machines, a company is able to produce more goods and replace unskilled labour in an industry.
Because of the amount of goods that are produced at a faster rate, wealth and jobs are created and this in turn translates into development for a nation.
Projects stimulate innovations that can have far-reaching and positive developments whose ability can contribute to job creation and improved high standard of living.
It is without doubt that Zambia has high ranking scientists whose contribution is invaluable and we believe many more scientists are still coming up.
Ms Chalikosa’s statement is an offer to scientists and a challenge for them to Show Government that they have the ability to drive the industrialisation process to success through innovations and projects.
Let us take for instance the plan by Government to set apart Lusaka as a food industrial hub. This is a venture that will be backed by machinery to process raw food products into other forms with an added value.
We want to urge scientists, because they are critical in the process, to make themselves equal to the task and prove they have what it takes to drive the industrialisation process.
At the same time, Government should prioritise the teaching of science in schools to nurture children and grow a base of scientists the nation can depend on for innovations.
Government should also make it easy for scientists to access the funds, as one of the reasons project gather dust is because of the stringent measures in getting the funding.
It is also up to those getting this funding to account for it so that government money, some of which comes from the donors, is not wasted.