Samuel Bello, Abuja
Three federal agencies under the ministry of Science and Technology are expected to spend N1 billion, N700 million and N500 million, respectively, on Research and Development with a view to boosting technological innovation in the country.
The agencies respectively are: Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO); National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
This was disclosed by Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, in Abuja, during a consultative meeting with Directors-General of parastatals of the Ministry.
He revealed that the fund was a prize for three most performing agencies out 17 agencies under his ministry in order to carry out more researches.
According to him, the three agencies won the fund after they underwent what he termed ‘a thorough assessment’ by a high-powered Competitiveness Assessment Committee (CAC) co-chaired by nominees from the Academy of Science and the Academy of Engineering.
“The committee assessed each agency on the quality and relevance of their individual mandates, which range from the number of patents, quality and relevance of research to national development to the number of research findings successfully commercialised.
“The Ministry took the decision to challenge the competitive spirit of the agencies by creating a reward system for those who excelled in their assigned duties so as to ensure effective deployment of Science, Technology and Innovation to drive the economy,” Onu said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of FIIRO, Mrs Gloria Elemo who had earlier lamented how paucity of fund hinders Research and Development, expressed joy, saying she could not hide her joy when her agency was announced winner of N1bn.
She said, “I wouldn’t have been at this meeting today because I never knew this great thing would happen, I intended sending a representative from Lagos but my mind just changed suddenly.
“I thank God this happened to our agency and I can assure Nigerians that we will not relent on our mandate.
“We will make sure all our researches are commercialised in order to Nigeria’s economy what it deserves.”
In a related development, the minister at an end-of-year dinner, with stakeholders in science and technology, business tycoons, politicians and others were in attendance, stated that he would not relent on his determination to make sure Nigeria catches up with technologically advanced countries.
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