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09 October 2013

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research does not get money from the government.

It emerged  at the public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its allied institutions whose core mandate is to conduct researches in science-related areas do not get money from the government to carry out their core functions.

The Director-General of CSIR, Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu made the revelation when a member of the committee and National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Keta, Richard Quashigah questioned why Food Research Institute as a research institution did not allocate any money from the government’s subvention to do research work which would ultimately help improve the health of the people of Ghana.

Mr Quashigah expressed grave concern that the Food Research Institute which ought to carry out research into food and related consumables for economic and health purposes, is not allocated any money for such an important core function.

According to the committee member, apart from the Food Research Institute not having any money for research purposes after being given a recurrent grant of GH¢2.7 million for the 2008-2009 financial year, the parent body, CSIR which also had a government subvention of GH¢2,986,166 during the same financial year could only allocate a paltry GH¢33,497 for research purposes with the rest going into emoluments.

Responding to the concern of Mr Quashigah, the Director-General of CSIR commended the committee member for raising such an important issue which, according to him, had been the bane of the research institutions under the CSIR.

According to him, various governments have not attached so much importance to the work of the CSIR and have thus starved the related institutions of money for research purposes which are their core mandate.

“We don’t get money for research purposes and it seems those working at the CSIR are just wasting government money in terms of salaries being paid,” he noted.

Dr Salifu pointed out that it was saddening to see workers not carrying out any active research work, adding that they have only been writing proposals for the government.

“When we present our budget for research purposes, we don’t get any money to implement it,” he said.

He said what they sometimes do is to partner with foreign research companies to do research for them and also carry research for private individuals and organizations.

The committee members also expressed concern about the financial management at the CSIR because most of their accounts did not tally while finance workers at the centre also abused the financial regulations of the country.

The Minister of Roads and Highways, Amidu Sulemana and officials from his ministry also appeared before the committee to answer questions on financial reports on the West Africa Transport and Transit Facilitation Project as well as the Urban Transport Project.

The committee members were concerned about why the Department of Urban Roads spent a whooping $10 million on institutional development.

Explaining the expenditure, the Director of Urban Roads, Abass Awolu said the money was used to set up transport units within 11 metropolitan and municipal assemblies, employ staff and provide logistics for their operation, which according to him, had greatly helped to streamline transport operations within those metropolises and municipalities.

The committee member and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah who made the enquiries was not very much satisfied with the response and suggested to the committee members to take some time off their busy schedule and visit some of those municipalities and metropolises in the Greater Accra Region to ascertain things for themselves and find out the exact work that the transport units in those assemblies do.

The committee members unanimously agreed to carry out that exercise for the sake of the public.

Source: Daily Guide


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