The executive vice chairman/chief executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammed Haruna and director-general/chief executive of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Halilu Shaba have agreed to work together for the development of Nigeria’s space resources, local content, design and fabrication of space technologies for overall socio-economic growth and development of the country.
The collaboration between the two agencies will include NASENI assisting NASRDA in the fabrication and design of drones and rockets thereby developing local capacities in those areas and also conserving the country’s foreign exchange. Without such collaboration, most hi-tech equipment used in space technologies is imported to the country. The agreements were reached today in Abuja when the director-general of NASRDA paid a courtesy visit to the management of NASENI.
While explaining the reasons for the visit, Shaba disclosed that: “there was no better time to visit NASENI than now to congratulate the agency on the Federal Government’s approval to release the one (1) per cent Federation Account funding mechanism to NASENI as contained in its Establishment Law”.
He further said the feat, attributed to the leadership prowess of Haruna came as a breakthrough for Nigeria’s science, technology and innovation system because the singular effort would open further doors to positive actions by successive governments to make science and innovation funding a priority in Nigeria.
According to him, before NASENI’s current feat, the budgeting system of the country had never been in favour of Nigeria’s science, technology and innovation system which had made the socio-economic development efforts of the country yield fewer fruits.
While commending the rare hope which NASENI’s special fund brought to the sector, he said there was the need for every well-meaning stakeholder to rally support for the agency.
“Without investment in science and technology and innovation as a matter of priority, it will be difficult continuously to achieve economic growth and development of our country.
“The way out, therefore, is for the government to make funding of the sector a major focus and our coming to NASENI is to identify with this great feat of achieving special funding of 1 per cent Federation Account for NASENI which, we believe, signalled the beginning of good things to come for the science, technology and innovation system.”
Shaba described the approval of one per cent funding for NASENI by the Federal Government during the tenure of Haruna, as chief executive of the agency, as “a lifetime achievement” which, when reminisced over in retirement, would cause him to be happy because of the future positive effects on the economy.
In his response, the NASENI chief executive said the agency had never engaged in any venture without collaboration and synergy with others because NASENI was not established to reinvent the wheels. “When you collaborate, you gain more speed, record more successes and progress. That way, you prevent needless duplication of efforts and waste of resources.”
The NASENI EVC/CE assured NASRDA of unbroken working collaborations, going forward, in all the areas which have been identified and many more. He said NASENI was expected to collaborate to achieve its statutory mandate of providing home-initiated and relevant processes, capital goods and equipment for the overall socio-economic development of the country.
He recalled that NASRDA was an offshoot of NASENI, in fact, a space programme within the mandate of NASENI before it was established as a full-fledged space agency. “Therefore, a working collaboration between NASENI and NASRDA always is a welcome development,” he said.