At a time when countries around the world are discovering and investing in cutting-edge technological advancements, Nigeria’s 33 year-old Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) claims that its most significant achievement to date is developing the ‘technology’ for processing beef and meat into a dried, tasty delicacy popularly known as kilishi. Speaking at the Nigerian Senate Committee on Science and Technology hearing, the RMRDC Director-General, Prof. Hussain Ibrahim, struggled to present any notable achievement of the institution in its 33 years of existence. He however, happily told the Committee about this ‘Kilishi technology’ achievement. Senators in the Committee and the audience were shocked to learn that this organisation for which billions of Naira are budgeted for on an annual basis and hundreds of staff hired, had virtually nothing substantial to justify public expenditure on it.
Nigerians have constantly asked why multiple departments and agencies of government exist without concrete evidence of productivity or relevance. A government committee on the rationalisation of government ministries had issued a report referred to as the ‘Oronsaye report’, calling for the scrapping of hundreds of irrelevant and moribund departments and agencies. Several of these agencies are funded from the public purse and budgetary allocations made, without any evidence of contributions to national development. This is rather disappointing, especially given the plethora of natural resources and raw materials available in the country. After several years of conversations to diversify the economy, Nigeria continues to rely heavily on crude oil as its major source of revenue and foreign exchange, paying little or no attention to other industries which could potentially generate commercially viable exports and create much needed jobs for many Nigerians.