…Describes biotech as inclusive national growth accelerator
The director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and the National Assembly (NASS) over the prompt assent and passage of the NABDA Establishment Act 2022.
Speaking during a press briefing to highlight the importance of the passage of the NABDA Act today (June 16, 2022) at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, he described the government’s action as a clear demonstration of its commitment to transforming Nigeria using biotechnology. He further described biotechnology as an “accelerator of inclusive national growth” which provides a knowledge-based approach to solving public problems and ensuring future sustainability.
Recall that in April 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the NABDA Establishment Bill 2022 into Law which confers the legal authority on the agency to conduct research and development in biotechnology.
The NABDA boss pointed out that the agency was motivated to invest its uttermost into the passage of this Act, saying its motivation stems from the fact that without creating an enabling legal framework for technoscientific innovations in the field of biotechnology, the actualisation of Nigeria’s quest for rapid industrialisation and her desire to become a high-income economy that maximises her competitive advantage will be impeded.
He opined that the passage of the Act is a testament to Nigeria’s readiness to harness cutting-edge technologies for sustainable development, particularly those that guarantee a better life for all Nigerians, stating that this development will enable the agency to consolidate Nigeria’s leadership in Africa’s biotechnology space and launch the nation into the stratosphere of global economic players.
Mustapha averred that the Act makes NABDA a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal.
“It is heartening to note that this development has moved NABDA from the realm of a promotional agency to that of a research institution. It has strategically poised NABDA to pursue its mandate of driving national development by ethically harnessing applications of biotechnology,” he said.
The NABDA helmsman further said the Act confers the legal authority on the agency to conduct research and development in biotechnology; in priority areas of food security, agriculture, health, industry, environment and other strategic sectors for national development.
“The significance of this act is that the agency now has a legal framework that guides and guards its researches, which are aimed at boosting agricultural production, promoting environmental sustainability and the development of vaccines and drugs, amongst others.
“In addition, the act will enable the agency to draw up programmes and policies for biotechnology utilisation in Nigeria as well as create an avenue to publish and disseminate research findings and recommendations of the agency on biotechnology.
“The passage of the act will be a catalyst for the stimulation of rapid commercialisation of biotechnology research and development products. It will afford the agency a platform to collaborate with international research centres, NGOs, national and international biotechnology agencies and institutions, and ensure a sustainable mechanism for adequate funding of biotechnology activities through national and international funding agencies,” he added.