By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN) has rejected calls by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to reduce the one per cent grant to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to increase the grant to 2 per cent rather than reducing it to 0. 2 per cent as suggested by the state governors.
The NGF, had, while advising the federal government on how to revamp the dwindling economy, suggested that the one per cent grant to NANISE be reduced to 0.2 per cent.
However, the CCSN in a statement issued yesterday in Kaduna by its spokesman, Abdulsalam Kazeem, called on Buhari not to listen to the advice of the governors.
The group maintained that NASENI need more funding considering the fact that it was established to stimulate science, technology, academics as well as boost the country’s economic and industrial transformation.
The statement said: “The attention of the Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN) has been drawn to the 33 unsolicited advices the Nigerian Governors’ Forum gave to the federal government on how to rescue the country’s economy from imminent collapse.
“In one of the advices, the governors called on the President Buhari-led administration to reduce the grant to NASENI from one percent to 0.2 percent.
“They also called for the Amendment of the Act in 2022 Finance Bill.
“Nigerian youths have been taken aback by this unpatriotic call, considering the strategic importance of the agency which was established to stimulate linkages among science, technology, academic the industrial and economic transformation.”
Kazeem said the country’s inability to produce what it consumes, over reliance on foreign made goods and technologies are responsible for the weak currency and the growing unemployment which has resulted in increase in crime rate.
According to him, “To reverse this negative trends, President Buhari did what successive regimes failed to do by mandating the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to deduct the approved grant from source, with the promise of increasing it if the agency justified it.”
The statement said it was unfortunate that instead of looking at the merit of research-base and development-driven institutions, “the governors seem to have been possessed with love for money, trying to lose any nut that will make funds available to them.”
The group “condemned the call in its entirety, and urged President Buhari to not only discard the advice, but to increase the grant to 2 percent.”
It urged the “governors to stop being lazy, always looking up to federal government for help, and begin to look inward to raise funds to run their states.
“We commend NASENI for designing the first made-in-Nigeria Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and helicopter for agriculture and security surveillance, the role they played during the COVID-19 onslaught against humanity in 2020 to date, and for bringing science, technology and innovation closer to the people and making it possible for mechanised agriculture at our hands.”