The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) have been challenged to design and produce unique facemasks as part of efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The challenged was made when the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Abdullahi Mohammed visited the Council in Abuja on Friday.
Dr. Onu speaking after the inspection of facilities in the Council stressed that the face masks to be produced must be in line with the standard set by World Health Organization (WHO).
He said the production of the facemasks will save Nigeria much needed foreign exchange being depleted through importation aside from curtailing Covid-19.
While commending the RMRDC for using wild tubers in producing pharmaceutical starch used in industries, thereby saving Nigeria billions of Naira, he stated that the production of pharmaceutical grade starch from wild yam tubers, could be used to produce to capsules, tablets, syrups and glucose.
“These innovations could help Nigeria reduce import of these materials and improve the country’s health sector”, he added, in a statement issued by the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Mr. Abdulganiyu Aminu.
According to Dr. Onu many businesses could be generated through the council as many Nigerians would be encouraged to venture into wild tuber production and other raw materials.
He further said that Nigeria has competent scientists, that could produce vaccines capable of fighting infectious diseases.
According to Dr. Onu, Nigeria cannot afford to import medical materials at this moment, adding that this could strain the nation’s foreign exchange reserve and harm the economy.
On his part, Barr. Abdullahi Mohammed advised the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to come up with sustainable products that would impact the economy after Covid-19 pandemic.
Mohammed further advised the Council to collaborate with a sister body – The National Biotechnology Development Agency to produce vaccines to combat the Corona Virus.
He said the two organizations should do this by working with pharmaceutical industries.
Earlier, the DG of RMRDC, Prof. Ibrahim Idoko said the council had been producing raw materials to service chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Some of its products are Pharmaceutical grade starch, Lovastatin, Caustic Soda, Pharmaceutical grade starch and Sweet Sorghum.