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Minister Fumbles

Shirley Ayitey

Shirley Ayitey

THE DEPUTY Ashanti Regional Minister, Madam Animah Wilson, on Tuesday became the subject of mockery when she revealed that she thought the scientists working at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were made up of environmental task force people.

“I thought you are made up of task force people who arrest people that flout environmental laws in the country”, she said whilst addressing staffers at CSIR at Fumesua near Ejisu in Kumasi. Before the visibly shaken Minister could finish the statement, the scientists gathered at the event burst into spontaneous laughter, causing some her some embarrassment.

Ironically, Madam Wilson contested and lost the parliamentary seat of Ejisu/Juaben Constituency in 2008 on the ticket of the NDC and the constituency houses the CSIR offices. The tense-looking Minister, in a desperate attempt to correct the incongruity that she had created, continued to make her incompetence public by saying that she had visited the CSIR compound on many occasions, especially during the campaign period of the last polls, but she actually did not know of their activities.

The disgraceful incident occurred during a meeting when the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Shirley Ayitey, paid a one-day working visit of the facility to acquaint herself with their work. Madam Wilson, who seemed amazed by the numerous inventions made by the CSIR staff, implored them to work harder than ever to continue to make inroads in their chosen profession.

Earlier, the Deputy Director of CSIR and Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) in the Ashanti Region, Dr. Daniel Anin Adjei Ofori disclosed that insufficient remuneration has compelled some scientist’s with the CSIR in Kumasi to move to other attractive areas such as the universities, where their financial demands could be met.

This forlorn development is a colossal hurdle preventing the CSIR from realizing their mandate of conducting thorough research on the environment and other areas to come up with new inventions to expedite the country’s growth.

Dr. Ofori mentioned unpaid back-pay to staff, a lack of modern research equipment, over dependence on external organizations for financial support, among others as the other challenges facing his outfit.

He thus passionately appealed to the government to earnestly intervene by solving the aforementioned quagmires to enable them carry out essential work to speed up Ghana’s developmental agenda.

With a staff population of 270, CSIR has been conducting research which has helped improved the environment, soil conservation and fertility, water conservation, minimize soil damage via afforestation among others.

The institute has in recent times, through research, manufactured paper bags from bamboo, and used industrial waste such as saw dust to make briquettes, an alternative source of energy, just to mention a few.

Madam Ayitey commended the CSIR for its innovations, disclosing that a plant will be constructed on the CSIR premises soon to manufacture the paper bags on test basis. According to her, the government has for the past four months been thinking about how to ban the importation of plastic bags, which take almost 250 years to disintegrate when thrown away.

The elated Minister noted that the CSIR’s invention could not have come at a better time since the manufacturing of paper bags would eventually give way to the ban on the importation of plastic bags.

She bemoaned the current situation where the country did not produce much, but rather imports items from other countries, saying the trend was not doing the country any good. Madam Ayitey thus implored the scientists to collaborate to come up with new inventions to speed up Ghana’s development.

She also called on the private sector to provide support for scientists to enable them undertake research activities, admonishing scientists to move from the traditional research style and venture into research of productivity to supply to industries.

Madam Ayitey assured the scientists of government’s resolve to provide support to enable them sustain their good works. She disclosed that very soon the National Science and Technology Innovation Fund would be established to support research work.

Source: dailyguideghana

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