The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly (NASS) on Monday held a public hearing on a purported bill to establish the National Research and Innovation Bill, 2016, with President Muhammadu Buhari and all his Minster as members, reports ITRealms.
The bill being sponsored by Senator David Umaru, representing Niger East Senatorial district of Niger State seeks an Act to provide for the establishment of the National Research and Innovation Council (NRIC), National Research and Innovation Foundation; and related matters also held public hearing on a public holiday in Nigeria.
According to the proposed bill in Part I, the public hearing which held at Room 022 Ground floor of the Senate Wing of the National Assembly, dwelt on the establishment of the National Research and Innovation Foundation Governing Board, among others, Senator Umaru also proposed in subsection 2 (1) a Council which shall consist of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the chairman and other members comprising the vice president also as the vice chairman.
Umaru in the bill also in 2 (1b) proposed that the Council include all ministers appointed in accordance with the provision of the 1999 Constitution, a representative of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Executive Secretary, National Research and Innovation Foundation as the Secretary of the Council.
He also proposed that such other number of persons not exceeding five appointed by the President on the joint recommendation of the Governing Board of the Foundation and the Technical Advisory Committee to further assist the Council in the discharge of its functions.
Reacting to the revelation, some industry observers called on other stakeholders to stand up and condemn this proposed bill as it serves no purpose for the nation other than political massaging.
In the first instance, they argued that the bill and its proposed Council will do Nigeria no good as there are over 200 research institutions in the country till date, dealing on several subsectors including so-called innovation and research.
Buttressing this argument, some of the industry observers noted that in Science and Technology alone, there are some 17 parastatals, namely National Board For Technology Incubation (NBTI), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), The Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Nigerian Institute For Trypanosomiasis And Onchocerciasis (NITR), National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), National Centre For Technology Management (NACETEM), National Office For Technology Acquisition And Promotion (NOTAP), Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), National Space Research & Development Agency (NARSDA), and Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja.
Others, this school of thought argued include Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBBRI), National Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST), Zaria, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Abuja, Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Abuja.
They further recalled that even under the Ministry of Communications, for instance, there is Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSAT) and Galaxy Backbone.
Industry watchers posited that for instance, within NITDA, there is an office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, whereas, there are multiple research institutions already in existence.
Therefore, they wondered what is really the motive of the proposed Council outside the name as the already existing over 20 parastatals and covers the so-called ‘innovation and research’ in their mandates.
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