In a bid to enable research institutions perform their core role in the development of the nation, organised labour has called for a special intervention fund to support the efforts of the institutions.
The workers, under the umbrella of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), at a group meeting recently, advised that the fund, which would be in line with the recommendations of UNESCO should be for a period of three years on a 50:30:20 ratio annually, like in the universities.
The NASU Research and Projects Trade Group Council, which had its regular meeting in Kaduna State, recently urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to implement the agreement government had with the unions on the need to increase the annual budgetary allocation to the sector and approve a special intervention fund as well as create a special fund to be called National Research and Technology Development Fund (NRTDF).
In a statement jointly signed by the Deputy President of the union, Wakili Tijani, and the Secretary of the group, Emma Okonkwo, NASU maintained that research and development institutions/federal colleges of agriculture could not play a prominent role in the development of the nation without such intervention.
The union expressed disappointment with the way the Federal Government has been paying lip service to issues affecting research and development institutions in Nigeria
“The Council-in-Session, worried by the poor funding of the nation’s research and development institutions/federal colleges of agriculture, called on government to devise a steady means of ensuring an increased flow of resources to this all-important sector, so that the national aspirations for which the institutions were established can be achieved,” NASU said..
The group also expressed dismay with the non-implementation of the grey areas in the agreement between the Federal Government and the unions in research and allied institutions dated January 2011.
The group, therefore, called on government to urgently settle the 12 months arrears of CONRAISS and direct the full implementation of other issues in the agreement forthwith.
It, however, passed a vote of implicit confidence in the leadership of NASU, for their efforts so far in getting government to settle the grey areas in the agreement.
On the stoppage of all forms of allowances to staff of the research institutes and stoppage of 65 years retirement age for staff of federal colleges of agriculture by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, the council advised the Minister of Labour and Employment to fast-track conclusion of the conciliation on the matter, which started in 2013 or refer it to the Industrial Arbitration Panel.