The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology’s website has not been updated in 10 months meaning that either the ministry has been idle or lack the expertise to upload its activities in nearly one year, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can report.
As at the time of writing this piece, the last post on the ministry’s website www.fmst.gov.ng was on September 20, 2011 when it reported “Programmes, Activities and Quick wins Projects of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and its Agencies as at September, 2011”
In a knowledge era where governments and its agencies use the information superhighway to disseminate information about its activities as well as woo and retain investments, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has been at the outskirts.
Stakeholders in the sector doubt if Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, minister of Science and Technology understands the increasing role of science as a currency for international diplomacy.
Chuks Arubaleze, a public affairs commentator and ICT lawyer said “if indeed that website has been redundant, then something is wrong somewhere.”
He said that the ministry along with communications technology should be mirror of the country showing progresses made in the science and technology space.
The ministry claimed that global economic landscape is experiencing rapid changes.
According to the information on the ministry’s website “Globalisation, especially is creating considerable new opportunities and new challenges.
Its impact on national economies is driven by significant progress in S&T as exemplified by a plethora of breakthroughs in Biotechnology, Space Research, Energy Development among others. It is therefore obvious that if Nigeria, given its natural endowments, is to successfully transform its economy and take her rightful place in the comity of nations, S&T and its integration in national socio-economic development processes must be accorded the highest priority”
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered little from the website in an era where other developing countries are using science and technology to fire the kiln of production.
Only recently, T. V. Padma, South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net showed how important science and technology have become in a piece “Science ministers must take their job seriously”
Padma said that “a science minister's job is a challenging one in the modern world, requiring both vision and commitment”
A simple website is test of seriousness and the ministry holed in bureaucracy and ritualistic mumbo jumbo has failed.
The ministry’s contemporaries in other developing world have changed their countries for ever.
For instance, Romain Murenzi, who served as Rwanda's science minister from 2001 to 2009, played a key role in enabling his war-torn country to emerge over the last decade as potentially one of Africa's scientific leaders.
Elsewhere, Padma in the piece above also singled out Atta-ur-Rahman, a former minister in Pakistan, who persuaded his government to boost the science and technology budget by 60-fold between 2001 and 2003, using much of the funds to support the growth of research institutes and woo expatriate scientists back home. His reforms led to a 10-fold increase in journal citations over six years.