Scientists asked to provide data to track progress

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Emmanuel Marfo has challenged scientists to provide data on their contribution to the economy of the country to enable them to track progress.

That, according to him, would also empower the parliamentary committee to be better advocates.

Dr Marfo was speaking at a seminar on “Financing science research and development” held in Accra yesterday.

The engagement involved the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); National Regulatory Authority (NRA); Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC); and National Bio-technology Authority (NBA).

It provided a platform for the agencies under the ministry, whose mandate specifically borders on science and technology, to come up with a roadmap to achieve the national goal of effectively financing science and development in Ghana.

It focused on the vision of science, technology and innovation; an overview of Ghana’s science, technology and innovation framework and bridging the science and development gap.

Dr Marfo stated that Ghana was expected to commit one per cent of its annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to finance research and development, but bemoaned the vast difference between the policy intent and policy implementation.

“Ghana’s GDP is around GH¢450 billion and one per cent of that should be about GH¢4.5 billion but the budget given is less than GH¢4.5 billion” he stated.

He said an analysis of the budget given was something around 0.3 or 0.5 of GDP of which financial managers of the country could not entirely be blamed for that, because science contribution to the country could not be quantified.

However, he charged research institutions to take up the issue and develop a framework that allowed tracking of commitment by the government.

The deputy Director-General of CSIR, Professor Paul Bosu described the interaction with the legislators as historic and said it would go a long way to enhance science and research for rapid national economic growth and development.

He emphasised the importance of helping bridge the science policy-gap, saying a lot of things were going on within the policy space and in the research space that had not been bridged.

Professor Bosu said investment in science and technology was expensive just as democracy and that it needed to be supported.

According to him, most of the support received so far, were from the government, donors and some few private institution.

He called for more resources into the science and technology to trigger a national conversation around it.

Prof. Bosu expressed appreciation to the Canadian government for their support through the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana which is designed to increase the adoption of relevant production.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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