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Raw materials: Senate tackles RMRDC over performance index   

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Raw materials: Senate tackles RMRDC over performance index   

Hussani Ibrahim

Senate Committee on Science and Technology on Monday tackled the Raw Materials  Research and Development Council, RMRDC over performance index of the latter within the last 32 years.
While members of the committee wondered why the RMRDC has not saved the nation from spending huge amount of dollars on yearly basis on importation of goods that can be produced locally, the Director General of the Council, Professor Hussani Ibrahim, said it has performed optimally within available resources.
Specifically, a member of the  committee, Senator Ibrahim Hadeija (APC Jigawa North) queried the RMRDC  boss on what the agency is doing as regards provision of raw materials for drug related items the the country spends $809million to import on yearly basis, sugar  costing Nigeria $46m on yearly basis, tyres costing the country $309million and wheat, costing the Nation $1.09billion on yearly basis.
“What has your agency done or doing to save the country from spending these huge amount of monies on importation of goods that can be produced locally through required raw materials “, he asked.
Another member of the committee , Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP Edo Central), in his tackled the director general by saying the performance index he had given, all dwelled on process story of doing this and that without concrete achievement in terms of raw materials development in line with the core mandate of the Research Council.
“Is this the success story that you are going to tell us after 33 years? There is nothing here. We are just surviving on importation of raw materials. You have not been able to have your own done. This agency is just wasting our money,” he said.
However, Professor Ibrahim, in his response said the research council had done a lot within the last 30 years of it’s existence.
He said: “Our 30 years of research activities, we are still the largest research Institute. But to be candid with you, we are making progress. For now,  we have developed a technology to optimize Kilishi production. Research activities takes time to produce concrete results
“We have developed two varieties of Sorghum,  we collaborated with agricultural research Institutes, pharmaceutical industries, because we produce ethanol from it and that is the basic raw material for the production of sanitizers.
“Also from the same Sorghum,  we developed other products like Glucose syrup, livestock feeds, material for breweries  and starch and presently, we are collaborating with Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria for production of Modular Refinery,” he said.
He however lamented that the Research Council has no laboratory of its own aside other financial handicap.
But chairman of the Committee, Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central), in her remarks, insisted that the agency must practically leave up to its billings as far as core mandate is concerned.
She said: “Your core mandate is to develop local materials for the local materials so as to maximize the cost of importing the materials. We cannot produce raw materials in this country. Raw materials is the bedrock, the foundation of industrialisation.
“The essence of setting up your agency is to ensure that we generate materials for our own local industries.”
She added that the agency will still need to appear before the committee on its expenditure as contained in the 2018 and 2019 budgets.
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