By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – Federal Government has reiterated its firm commitment to set up research and innovation development fund to promote scientific findings and research for national development.
The minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, stated this on Tuesday at the town hall meeting with the staff of the ministry and agencies under the supervision of the ministry.
He expressed optimism that once President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the National Council and Innovation Development Fund Bill, consolidated funds would be provided for research and innovation in Nigeria.
Onu described the Ministry of Science and Technology as the “brain box” of the present administration, assuring that with the setting up of the fund, according to the minister, “It will not be too long from now this Ministry will be one of the best among other ministries in Nigeria.
“This Ministry will have all the money that it needs to help the nation to have a great future.
The National Council and Innovation Development Fund Bill has been passed by the National Assembly.
“Mr. President, however, has not assented to it. It has been sent back to the National Assembly to correct.
“Someday, we are going to have research and innovation fund. We have been working very hard in the last three years to set it up.
“These things take time. It is not something you start today and get the result immediately. We have done so much work that it will not be too long from now, we will have it passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr. President.
“It will provide national research and innovation fund through extra-budgetary funding for research and innovation in Nigeria.
“We cannot really run research and innovation with annual budgetary provision alone. This is what has been happening since the creation of this Ministry in 1980.”
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, warned the heads of agencies and parastatals under the ministry to desist from awarding contracts without following the procurement procedures as well as eschew signing of memorandum of understanding without recourse to the supervising ministry.
He used the opportunity to shower encomiums on the achievements recorded under the leadership of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, describing the minister as the “best minister the ministry has ever had since its creation.”