Economic Crisis: Nigerian Youth Reject Governors Call To Slash NASENI’s Grant

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By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna

Five youth groups under the auspices of Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN), have expressed great concern over the  33 unsolicited advices the Nigerian Governor’s Forum gave to the Federal Government on how to rescue the nation’s economy from imminent collapse.

In one of the counsels, the group observed that the governors called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reduce the one percent  grant legally due for the  National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure  {(NASENI) and referred to the agency  0.2% and also called for the amendment of the Act in 2022 Finance Bill.

In a joint statement issued by Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, President,

Unified Nigerian Youth forum; Comrade Aliyu Moh’d Sani, President, Arewa Youth Federation; Comrade Elizabeth L. Uche,

Convener, South East Youths for Sustainable Growth and Development; Hon. abdulmajeed Oyeniye, Speaker,

Oodau Youth Parliament and Activist Gabriel Emmanuel Abela, National Coordinator, South South Youth for Peace and stability, the group stated that the youth who cut across the world, remain stakeholders in nation building and as such, that  Nigeria should not be an exception.

The statement further observed, “We are the trustees of our nation and we will  actively engage in activities that promotes unity, development and patriotism at all times,   therefore, Nigerian youth have been taken aback by this unpatriotic call, considering the strategic importance of the agency, which was established to stimulate linkages between science and technology, academic and the industrial sector on the one hand and the country’s economic and Industrial transformation on the other.”

The statement said that the inability of Nigeria to produce what it consumes and over reliance on foreign made goods and technologies is responsible for the weakened the Naira and growing unemployment among the populace, which translates to the unprecedented increase in crime rate in the country, saying that to reverse the negative trend, President Muhammadu Buhari did what the successive  regimes failed to do by mandating FIRS to deduct the approved grant from the source, with the promise of increasing it, if the agency justifies what they are getting. 

Since the Presidential order translates to automatic reduction in funds available to states from the central feeding bottle, it stated that the governors felt they have gotten a perfect avenue to attract more funds to their states, hence, the unpatriotic call to  reduce the grant.

The statement opined, “We note that it is this mindset of the governors that made it almost  impossible for both  federal and states governments to solve the lingering ASUU strike. It’s unfortunate that  instead of looking at the merit of research base and development driven institutions, our governors seem to have been possessed by love of money, trying to loose any nut that will make funds available to them.” 

The coalition, therefore, condemned the call in its entirety, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to not only discard the tissue of their counsel in dustbin of history, but conclude plans in ensuring that the grant is increased from the now 1% to 2%, because NASENI actions towards science, innovation and technology is timely and  will stand test of time, hence the imperative needed for the upward review of the grant.

The statement advised that governors should stop being lazy by always looking at the federal government, where their help comes from, but begin to look inwards to raise funds to run their states, stressing that the present turn of events globally, tells everyone that leadership is for those who can bring something to the table, not those who want to reap where they didn’t sow.

It explained that the agency in recent times, has helped greatly in developing local capacity and capabilities, which in turn has taken Nigerians from consumer based economy to knowledge based innovative and manufacturing economy, with significant and visible economic benefits.

The coalition commended NASENI for designing the first made in Nigeria Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, helicopter for agriculture and security surveillance, saying that the role they played during the CoronaVirus onslaught against humanity in 2020 to date, by bringing science, technology and innovation closer to the people and making it possible for mechanised agriculture at our hands, remains significant. 

They urged the National Assembly to throw out any bill that is aimed at reducing NASENI’S grant from 1% to 0.2% in appreciation of the agency’s efforts towards the spate of infrastructure, digital and technological development across the nation.

It also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for having the future of the country at heart by supporting all relevant agencies such as NASENI that would serve as jobs producing machines for the growing population, urging him not to pay attention to the governors counsel on this matter, since the agency has been able to achieve a solid and sustainable industrialization of the country with the current 1%, and appealed to concerned stakeholders to reject the proposal.

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