By Emmanuel Elebeke
Agriculture and science expert has appealed to Federal Government to as a matter of urgency review the newly introduced Single Treasury Account (TSA) policy to enable them make progress in their research and development programmes.
The Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Lucy Ogbadu made the passionate appeal, Thursday during an interactive forum between science and technology reporters and a delegation from the Science Development Network in Abuja.
Ogbadu who was alluding to the feelings of science and technology researchers in the country, explained that the policy since its implementation last months had posed unanticipated challenge to both researchers and the donor agencies, waning that if not reviewed, the policy may impact negatively on the research development in the country.
According to her, Nigerian researchers could no longer access the available research funds pulled together by DFID, World Bank and other donor agencies since the implementation of the TSA policy, a development she warned could discourage such foreign aids from assisting the country.
‘‘Agriculture researchers can no longer access funds for registration because fund are not there. The registration process are sponsored by World Bank because they have mopped up all the accounts money under this TSA, including all the funds from the other accounts that are not from the Federal Government, we may not be able to hold our meetings two times a year.
The Agriculture Research and Development Fund came from World Bank, under a special programme called West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and has funding the programme all these years.
Elaborating on the demand, the DG said: ‘‘they are saying that they cannot afford to have their donations merged with government account for purposes of speedy execution of projects and for purposes of doing away with bureaucratic bottles.
‘‘They are saying, they want their accounts maintained separate from government account. And we are making an appeal to government to honour this call by allowing us to maintain those accounts that are being funded by foreign donors.
In her remarks, the country director, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) Nigeria chapter, Mrs. Rose Gidado, stressed need for listing science and technology ministry on the first priority of government funding because of the importance of the sector to nation development.