In its determination to diversify the country’s economy especially away from being dependent on crude oil, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday inaugurated a 9 Member Board Chairmen and 36 Members to assist the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in fast-tracking its overarching mandate of leapfrogging Nigeria’s technology and engineering for national development.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr Boss Mustapha, at the Headquarters of NASENI, in Abuja, tasked the members to work ingeniously across the 9 research and development institutes to see Nigeria truly becoming one of the most industrialized nations in the world.
The Board Chairmen for the 9 Institutes include Prof. James Momoh, Chairman: Electronic Development Institute, Awka, Engr. Mustapha Balarabe Shehu for Advanced Manufacturing Development Technology Institute, Jalingo, Prof. Peter Azikiwe Onwualu: for Engineering Materials Development Institute in Akure, Engr. Zakari Osagye Ayitogo, for Hydraulic Equipment Development Institute, Kano, Prof. Joseph Atubokki Ajenka, for National Engineering Design Development and Prof. Abubakar Sani Sambo, for Power Equipment and Electrical Machinery at Okene.
The others are Prof. Olufemi Adebisi Bamiro: Prototype Engineering Development Institute, Ilesha, Prof. Muhammed Hamisu Mohammed for Scientific Equipment Development Institute and Engr. Kashim Abdul Ali, Scientific Equipment Development Institute, Minna.
The Chairmen with their 36 members were charged to evaluate all technologies and innovations coming out from NASENI’s research institutes, to make them conform to best global standards, to make them ready for commercialization and to industrialize the Nigerian economy as quickly as possible through mass production of standardized machinery.
According to him, the need to diversify the economy was a deliberate action by the present administration and hence the current massive investments in STIs and products that could boost the productivity of Nigeria’s economy just as obtainable in Japan, China, India, the US and Germany.
Such efforts had led those countries to become first class in terms of world economic growth and development, he added.
On the federal government’s support for NASENI, Buhari acknowledged that the agency has the competence and capacity to diversify the economy, through its technologies and innovations, adding that the recently reviewed statutory funds will kickstart NASENI’s drive to achieve its mandate.
Therefore, he underscores and mandates that all the agency’s statutory funding mechanisms be released to enable it to achieve its mandate of providing capital goods, research and development activities to transform the economy using science, technology and innovations.
Speaking further, Mustapha said the panel would kick-start the effective and efficient implementations of projects of NASENI and the tasks of the technical board include enabling the Federal government to monitor the deliverables from the Agency in order to make it more responsive to meet the developmental and socio-economic needs and objectives of the country.
Dr Maurice Mbaneri, who stood for the SGF, while applauding the agency, said its efforts so far had been remarkable, explaining that the agency has continued to prove its capabilities and commitment to the progress of the nation’s development and sustainable growth through its diversified STIs across sectors of the economy.
He said: “President Buhari, has approved the composition of these technical panels for deployment and application of appropriate science and engineering technologies because this sector is the obvious solution to the myriads of our socio-economic problems in Nigeria.”
In his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, said the setting up of the Boards as approved by President Buhari, was not only in line with the Establishment Act of the agency but also the implementation of the recommendation of inter-ministerial Ad-hoc Committee of the NASENI governing board.
While appreciating President Buhari for repositioning the agency in line with the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers, Haruna, noted that since the establishment of NASENI, about 30 years ago, it is this administration that has demonstrated sufficient political will by approving the full implementation of the agency’s mandate which include, strategic policy objectives, institutional structures; funding and financial implementation.”
The President, who doubles as the Chairman of NASENI Governing Board, acknowledged that he has fulfilled his promises of repositioning the agency to deliver globally competitive products and services, adding: “This is in line with the administration’s economic diversification programme and commitment to transit the country from a consumer to a manufacturing economy.”