The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mrs. Monilola Udoh, has described the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) as a fit-for-purpose agency that has a valuable mandate that will improve the economic growth and development of Nigeria if properly funded and resourced.
She said this when she paid a familiarisation visit to the complex in Kwali, Abuja. Udoh harped for more funding for the research institute, noting the agency is doing so much with the little fund it gets.
“Right now, they are doing a lot with less and I think the agency should be encouraged to do more by improving funding to the agency. There is, also, a need for investors to pick and commercialise their research findings and products that they generate from the agency.
“They need support in terms of the right policies that will attract the needed investments in the agency. We need to encourage collaborations, especially with the industry and the private sector to partner with SHESTCO to bring about the required resources needed to improve Nigeria’s revenue,” she said.
She further tasked the agency with staff welfare, stressing that a motivated workforce is an efficient and productive one.
“Staff welfare is very important. There should be a system that encourages hard work and excellence in service to bring out the potential and best of the staff. Those who have distinguished themselves should be encouraged while those slacking should be encouraged to sit up. A carrot-and-stick approach should work well to bring out the best in staff.”
She posited that there are numerous ways staff can be motivated such as house ownership schemes, health insurance, staff training and retraining, among other welfare programmes.
Udoh encouraged the complex’s management to have a welfare committee in place to ensure the staff welfare is paramount to enhancing productivity.
In his remarks, the SHESTCO director-general, Prof. Paul Onyenekwe, expressed excitement at the permanent secretary’s visit, saying her visit had given her a better understanding of the workings of the agency.
“Now more familiar with the terrain, she’s now more informed of our activities and our problems. Before now when we talk about the supply of power, which is one of the major problems we have, [no one understands]. She now knows that we generate our power and water and these things are not easy. So, her coming here is very important. It has made it possible for us to make submissions. I believe she now understands the background that we are reporting,” he said.
The SHESTCO boss added that the agency is working hard through its business development unit to get investors to pick their research breakthroughs for commercialisation.
“We are working towards people taking up our research results. This is why we have the business development unit which can interact and interface with the public sector and, then, when we have these research outputs they can pick them [for commercialisation] and we play an advisory role,” he added.