By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Plateau Commissioner of Science and Technology, Mr. Dung Musa, has decried shortage of manpower and modern equipment in the state-owned science centres, saying the facilities required urgent attention to prevent their collapse.
Musa who is underground a familiarization tour of agencies and departments under his Ministry, noted that urgent steps must be taken to address the challenges and facilitate the generation of revenue to the State’s coffer.
He however commended the Management of Relevant Technology Board, for its efforts to boost production of school furniture and empower trainees with technical and vocational skills.
The Commissioner said, “The State Governor, Simon Lalong, has directed us to generate revenue for development projects in the state so that we do not rely on federal government allocation, and we cannot do it without upgrading our centres with modern equipment and engaging more manpower.
“We will work toward revamping all our centres before 2023 and have discussions about more collaborations with the Ministry of Environment on ways to use waste to generate energy and the Ministry of Education on patronising products and services of our centres, especially school furniture.”
However, the Executive Secretary of the Relevant Technology Board, Idris Mutyil, explained the urgency in revamping the Board saying, “The organisation which used to have 300 staff, now has only 45 staff, including those in our five centres in the state, this is grossly adequate. The Board is currently constructing school furniture for public primary schools in the state and is spending fund on engaging more manpower to help with the project.”
Also, the Chief Production officer of Government Science Production Centre, Mr. Obed Dimka, told the Commissioner that the organisation had only six staff as many had either retired or left the center and urged government and other organisations to patronise the centre for the provision of science laboratory equipment and other instructional aids for schools, and called for public private partnership to boost service delivery.
He expressed worry that government was under utilising the centre which had great potentials of generating revenue and mentoring youths to become giants in the science and technology sector.
Meanwhile, the commissioner also visited the Technology Incubation Centre which has 22 entrepreneurs in inverter making, spices, furniture and shoe making, amongst others.