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No Justification For Science And Technology’s Meager N30bn

No Justification For Science And Technology’s Meager N30bn

Information Technology professionals are fuming at the N30 billion proposed allocation to the Ministry of Science and Technology, describing it as paltry change for a ministry that desperately needs funds for research and development.

Chairman Lagos state chapter of the Nigerian Computer Society, NCS, Mr Rogba Adeoye, who was particularly miffed at the budget, said the allocation has proved that President Jonathan’s government like others past is yet to fully appreciate the critical role technology plays in the transformation of world economies.

For him, “the failure of government to realize the importance and the critical role of science and technology in the today’s economy is largely responsible for the poor budgetary allocation for the sector annually. But honestly, this has to change,” he blurted out.

Federal government had in the 2014 budget estimate sent to the National Assembly for ratification, proposed a total of N30, 846,818,569 for the entire Ministry of Science and Technology.

Breakdown of the proposed N30.8 billion is that N6,787, 308,701 would go for Capital development projects,

N4, 110,715,629 for overhead and N19, 948,794,289 for personnel cost.

According to Adeoye, an increase in funding rather than the continued starvation of the sector which needs funds to execute some critical projects would enable it deliver on the goal of industrialization and technological development.

“The N30.8 billion allocation for Science and Technology ministry in 2014 budget estimate is grossly inadequate from any reasonable perspective.

The sum is ridiculous, considering that the Ministry will not be able to achieve much in the sector in the critical areas of research and infrastructure development.

We have so much research institutes across the country and you know that this sum cannot be adequate for all these institutes to achieve their respective mandates”.

Adeoye’s argument is that, if federal government could save about N100 million from 45,000 ghost workers discovered by adopting the personnel information automation system, PIAS, it has no justification to allocate inadequate funds to science and technology sector, knowing that was where instruments’ further feat can be developed from.

“If they can save such amount through technology, why can’t they do more for technology?” he queried.

He contended that the science and technology sector needs so much money for so many things, urging the federal government to pump in more funds into the sector for capital projects to enable the managers of the resources build backbone infrastructure like fibre optic that will carry heavy data and also boost economic activities across all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, Adeoye was not alone in the criticism. Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP, Dr. Umar Bindir said that more funding would minimize over dependence on importation of goods and refined petroleum products.

“More funding in science and technology will minimize import of refined petroleum products, create jobs, but we all know resources are not enough for all these.

‘African Union meeting resolved that all African governments should dedicate one per cent of their GDP to science and technology, which will lead to massive improvement in energy infrastructure, food security, help indigenous technology etc,’ he added.

According to him, the sector deserve more funds than it is currently receiving to operate but noted that his agency was willing to use whatever is made available to it to make impacts.

“I am confident that someday a government would realize how important our research institutes, are and at least break the jinx.

For him, more funding to Science and Tech will help the country reduce dependence on foreign nations Also, the former Permanent Secretary Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu, said that poor budgeting and funding of technology in the country is inimical to the Transformation Agenda of federal government.

Source: Vanguard

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