By Emmanuel Acha
The Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation, has sought for improved funding for Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, toward actualising its goal of producing pencils locally.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, said this on Wednesday in Enugu during an oversight visit to PRODA.
PRODA had expressed readiness to commence local pencil production in 2016, when the management visited by the then Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.
However, six years after, the project had yet to be realised.
Ekwunife attributed the challenge to the inability of government to provide the full financial support that would enable the institute to realise the goal.
The senator said that in spite of the opinions and reservations of members of the committee, it was satisfied with the progress made on the project.
“One of the major problems is that we don’t have steady inflow of money, the envelope system where you will for instance have a N200 million worth of projects but given only N20 million is not helping matters.
“PRODA has made some progress and we will encourage them by bringing legislative work to ensure the completion of the project,” she said.
Ekwunife said that it was the desire of the lawmakers to move Nigeria forward from a consumption based economy to a producer nation.
“We have the people with vast knowledge in technology and science who can leverage on this to provide solutions to our local problems,” Ekwunife said.
Earlier, the Director-General, PRODA, Mr Peter Ogobe, described the visit as auspicious.
Ogobe said that it was good that the visit came at a time the country had renewed emphasis on the diversification of the economy aimed at economic recovery.
The director-general commended the senator for her drive to make science, technology and innovation the live wire for the nation’s economy.
Ogobe said that PRODA had benefitted from bills passed by the senate.
“PRODA now has an improved budget through your activities and timely interventions.
“Our research and development mandate has seen us impact on all geopolitical zones of the country,” Ogobe said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa