The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, Mr Daniel Onjeh wants the Federal Government to amend the laws establishing the institute to make it self-sustaining.
Onjeh made the call in Enugu on Friday during an inspection of the institute to ascertain its condition.
He said that an amendment to the laws had become imperative in order to generate considerable internal revenue and overcome the challenges of funding currently faced by the institute.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institute established in 1971 was envisioned to be the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrial revolution by advancing scientific and technological innovations and breakthroughs.
The institute was also set up to take a leading role in engineering research and developments by employing local materials and processes.
Onjeh, however, said that the laws establishing the institute had limited its efficiency in generating revenue that would be commensurate to its functions.
He said that under the current arrangement, PRODA could not sell its products directly in the open market as the patent rights were sold to entrepreneurs and investors.
“We are limited by law to fully commercialise our products and it is really one issue that is affecting the institute from generating its own revenue.
“These are some of the things the current board is looking into to see how those laws could be amended to empower PRODA to commercialise products of its research to raise funds and be strong enough,” he said.
He said it was sad that the institute did not have the open channel to interact with buyers of its products in the open market.
“So, if the law is tinkered or altered to empower us to carry out that mandate we will be able to deal with the general public without waiting for a moneybag to come and buy our patent rights.
“When this is done, it will put us on the edge because it becomes more of a monopoly.
“Once we are open to the general market, we can mass produce and reach out to people by ourselves.
“We can have the business unit in the institute that can handle that,” he said.
He said that during the inspection of facilities of the institutions the board members were sad to realise that the equipments were obsolete, dilapidated or not even available.
The board chairman said that they wished to take advantage of the diversification policy of the current administration to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the decay in the institute.
“We will cash on that to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the state of PRODA, particularly with respect to machines and equipment so that they will be upgraded to modern standard,” he said.
He said that paucity of funds was part of the major challenges militating against the effectiveness of the institute.
“We know that the economic crunch and the gradual decline and nosedive of our economy into recession affected the allocation of resources to several sectors of the economy.
“The issue of overhead is a general problem to most agencies and institutes but those agencies that have high internally generated revenue are able to meet up with the tasks that are accommodated by the overhead.
“Unfortunately, PRODA is limited because we do not sell our products directly to final consumers,” he said.
Onjeh said that the current board of the institute was genuinely positioned to ensure that PRODA carried out its core mandate to the expectation of the government and the generality of Nigerians. (NAN)