By Charles Nwaoguji
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, Hon. Beni Lar has called for increased funding of Science and Technology sector in budgetary allocation.
Hon. Beni Lar made the call when members of the Committee paid an oversight visit to the headquarters of the Ministry of Science and Technology in Abuja on Monday.
According to Beni Lar, the nation is underutilizing the capacity of the Ministry to transform the economy.
‘In Developed Countries, one key reason for their Technological advancement is adequate funding of the Science and Technology sector for socio-economic development’ She added.
Nigeria, She explained, needs to apply this in her budgeting process if it should make significant progress in space science, entrepreneurship agriculture, health and technological development.
She frowned at the exclusion of the Ministry in the COVID -19 Special Intervention Fund despite what the Ministry and her agencies had to offer in the management and prevention of COVID-19 in the country.
Honourable Lar said the National Assembly was highly dissatisfied with the omission of the Ministry in the COVID-19 Intervention Fund. She assured that her committee will do its best to ensure increased budgetary allocation to the Ministry.
She further said that from the oversight visit to some of the agencies, the committee made a lot of discoveries, adding that the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) had the capacity to manufacture Aircrafts in Nigeria.
“There is no need importing Keke NAPEP, some of these agencies can manufacture it to precision”.
She also added that National Bio-Technology Development (NABDA) Agencies as well The National Research Agencies for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria had Capacity to Produce Reagents for testing of COVID-19.
She commended the Minister for his role in getting the Ministry increased budgetary allocation, but added that more needed to be done.
Nigeria, She finally said, can be self-sufficient if it invested more in Science and Technology.
While welcoming the Committee, The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu said since the inception of this administration, there had been increased funding and attention to the Science and Technology sector.
He assured the Committee that despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 which led to decreased budgetary allocation, The Ministry had done its best in upping the ante in Research and Innovation.