By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja, Oct. 19, 2020 Rep. Beni Lar, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, has called for increased funding for the science and technology sector.
Lar, who made the call on Monday in Abuja when members of the Committee paid an oversight visit to the Ministry of Science and Technology, called for more attention to the sector during budgetary allocations.
She said that the nation was underutilising the capacity of the ministry to transform the economy.
According to her, a key factor in the advancement of developed contries is technology.
“Such countries adequately fund their science and technology sector leading to socio-economic development.
“Nigeria needs to emulate this in her budgeting process if it is to 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, in spite of what the ministry and her agencies had to offer in the management and prevention of the pandemic.
Lar said that the National Assembly was highly dissatisfied with the omission of the ministry in the Intervention Fund, and assured its leaders that the committee would do its best to shore up its budgetary allocations.
She said the committee had made a lot of discoveries from the oversight visits to some of the agencies
Lar further said 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 said.
She said that the National Biotechnology Development (NABDA) as well as the National Research Agencies for Chemical Technology, Zaria, had the capacity to produce reagents for testing of COVID-19.
She commended the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, for his role in getting more funds for the ministry, and promised to support his efforts.
Earlier, Onu had said that since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, there had been increased funding and attention to the science and technology sector.
Onu assured the Committee that in spite of the negative impact of the COVID-19 which led to decreased budgetary allocation, the ministry had done its best in research and innovation.