…Urged President Muhammadu Buhari to increase the grant to 2% as approved

By Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna

The Coalition of Youths organization under the aegis of Concerned Civil Society organization of Nigeria, has reject what it call as grants slash by 33 percent.

In a press statement signed by Spokesperson of the Coalition, Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem,
President,Unified Nigerian Youths.
Read in part.

“The attention of The Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSN) has been drawn to the Thirty Three (33) unsolicited advices the Nigeria 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 governors called on the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to reduced the One Percent (1%) Grant legally due for the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) hereafter refer to as the Agency} to 0.2%. They also called for the Amendment of the Act in 2022 Finance Bill.

The statement further explain “To set the record straight, youths cut across the world remain stakeholders in Nation building and as such that of Nigeria should not be an exception, we are the trustees of our Nation and we will actively engage in activities that promotes Unity, development and patriotism at all time ,

The statement added”So therefore Nigerian Youths 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.

“Our inability to produce what we consume and over reliance on foreign made goods and technologies, is responsible for the weakened Naira, growing unemployment among the populace which translates to the unprecedented increase in crime rate in our country.

“To reverse this negative trends, 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 justified what they are getting.

Added that “Since the Presidential order translates to automatic reduction in funds available to States from the Central feeding bottle, our governors felt they have gotten a perfect avenue to attract more funds to their state, hence, the unpatriotic call to reduce the grant.

“We notes that it is this mindset of the governors that made it almost impossible for both Federal and States government to solve the lingering ASUU strike. Its unfortunate that instead of looking at the merit of research base and development driven institutions, our governors seems to have been posseses love of money, trying to loose any nut that will make funds available to them.

The coalition therefore made calls “As leaders of Nigerian Youths, we wish to state the followings:

“That we condemn the call in it entirety, and therefore 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 it will stand challenge of time, hence the imperative need for the upward review of the grant.

“That our governors should stop being lazy, always looking at the Federal government, where their help come from and begin to look inward to raise funds to run their states. The present turn of events globally, tells us that leadership is for those who can bring something to the table not those who want to reap where they didn’t sow, for instance, the Agency in recent time has helped greatly in developing local capacity and capabilities, which in return has taken us from consumer base economy to knowledge based innovative and manufacturing economy with significant and visible economy benefits.

“We Commend NASENI for Designing First Made in Nigeria Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Helicopter for Agriculture and Security Surveillance, the role they played during the Corona Virus onslaught against humanity in 2020 to date, Bringing Science, Technology and Innovation closer to the people and making it possible for mechanised Agriculture at our hands.

“Urged the National Assembly to throw out any bill that is aimed reducing NASENI’S grant from 1% to 0.2% in appreciation of the agency efforts towards the spate of infrastructure, Digital and Technological development across the Nation.

The statement concluded by ” we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for having the future of our country at heart by supporting all relevant agencies such as NASENI that will serve as jobs producing machines for our growing population. Urging him not to pay attention to the governors counsel on this matter, since the Agency have been able to achieved a solid and sustainable industrialization of our Country with the current 1%, we therefore appeal to Concerned Stakeholders to reject the proposal.