The House of Representatives has called for an increase in budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, in a bid to fund ongoing research that would transform Nigeria’s economy in the post COVID-19 era.
Chairman of the House Committee on Science Technology, Hon. Beni Lar, who stated this during an oversight visit to the Ministry in Abuja, also decried the mere 0.2 percent of the national budget usually allocated to the sector, lamenting that despite the Ministry’s retinue of agencies established to move the country forward in terms of technological advancement, its budget was that low.
The lawmaker noted that in developed countries, one of the key reasons for their technological advancement is the huge amount spent in funding science, technology and innovations in strategic industries to improve their socioeconomic growth, while it appeared to be the contrast in Nigeria.
“It is very worrisome to note that the COVID-19 intervention that was done across the nation excluded the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. So all our researchers and technologists are today under this Ministry, redundant. It is a great omission by the government but we in the Parliament are determined to correct that mistake and we will review the budget accordingly.
“Nigeria must learn to focus its energies, resources in growing science and technology. The agencies we have here, for instance the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, they manufacture Aircrafts in Nigeria. They have prototypes of Tractors, Tricycles (Keke Napep) and we don’t need to import Keke Napep from any country. We can make it right here in this country.
“We have agencies like NBTI, the National Board for Technology Incubation that brings young entrepreneurs and businessmen who have ideas, train them in bringing the ideas into realities and giving them commercial value. Nigerians can be self-sufficient if we invest adequately into this sector”, she said.
In his remarks, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu, disclosed that the six standard model laboratories which Federal government had announced plans to build in each geo-political zones of the country would be ready by 2022, explaining that even with the challenges posed by COVID-19, the ministry did its best in promoting research and innovations.
Originally published at BluePrint