Why I sponsored project development agency bill -Frank Ibezim
Posted By Town Crier News Nigeria
Published By Fitness Network Communications
Senator Frank Chukwuma Ibezim, representing Imo North in the National Assembly has given reasons he sponsored the bill that wants a product development agency established.
The bill, titled: Project Development Agency Bill (SB. 1097), has since passed the second reading in the Red Chamber.
According to the lawmaker, its main objective is to generate and catalyse industrialisation by carrying out industrial research from the laboratory stage to the pilot plant stage.
The bill seeks to give legal backing to the 43-year-old Project Development Institute (PRODA) in Enugu State to enable the agency to function optimally.
PRODA, Ibezim recalled, was formerly known as the Research and Production Department of the old Eastern Region. It served as the manufacturing engine room for the defunct Biafra Republic and was noted for its laudable inventions during the ill-fated Nigeria-Biafra Civil War.
According to the distinguished senator: “For PRODA, which was established about 43 years ago, in Enugu, South-east of Nigeria to function optimally, we have to give it legal backing. There is no reason we should not give it a legal backing because once PRODA has a legal backing, it would be very effective and do the right functions it ought to do.
“It would ensure the research institute would perform under international best practices. So, it is apt and timely knowing the time we are in now; we need to recreate whatever we can do for our country technologically, as Nigeria is bleeding.
“A country where more than 70% of the citizens are 40 years and under, it means that we have a challenge of jobs. So, PRODA effectively would not only create jobs but also fast-track the technology areas.”
One of the most notable inventions of the institute during the civil war was the “ogbunigwe” bomb, a self-propelled rocket with an 8-kilometre range that could wipe out a company of enemy troops.
However, after the war, the institute was renamed PRODA and enlisted as one of the 17 agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology and pioneered the first made-in-Nigeria ‘car’, branded PRODA.
PRODA was in limbo for several years until recently when the immediate past Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, announced that by 2018 Nigeria would start the production of pencils and saddled the agency with the responsibility of leading this ‘revolution.’
Sadly, Ibezim noted: “Despite huge budgetary allocations, the government has been unable to rouse the comatose agency from its deep slumber. The so-called pencil revolution is yet to start, and the agency is fast rotting away.”
The lawmaker posited that when the bill is eventually passed into law, that this would become a thing of the past, as the agency would now be empowered by legal authority to drive innovative inventions, as it did during its days, as the Research and Production Department of the old Eastern Region and ultimately take the country to new technological heights.