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Government pays our salaries, but no budget for research – CSIR

June 24, 2016, 10 a.m.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has condemned what it says is government’s disregard for research works in the country.

Director of the Crop Research Institute of the CSIR, Dr Stella Ama Ennin, says the government is diligent at paying their salaries but falters in giving them money for research related projects in the country.

“The government pays our salaries which we appreciate, but if you pay me my salary at least give me a percentage of the salary for me to deliver the work for which you are paying me,” she said.

The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has, on several occasions, lashed out at lecturers of the university community and scientists for their inability to undertake research projects. The government claimed it is not seeing relevant research works in key sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

As a consequence, the government took practical steps to replace the current Book and Research allowance of lecturers with a research fund, which will be a pool of funds set aside to support lecturers and scientists who present compelling proposal.

This proposal was heavily resisted by the university community resulting in torrents of strikes by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG).

Speaking at a seminar on Ghana’s Food Security Challenges organised by the CSIR, Dr Ennin says the lack of funds for research works especially in the areas of agriculture exposes the country to possible food security issues in the future.

Desirous of performing its mandate, Dr Ennin disclosed the constraint has drawn the CSIR to be "heavily" dependent on donors for its research works, noting this decision has come at a cost.

“A nation that is a sovereign nation should be able to support research to come out with ideas to help the nation,” she added.

Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Jonny Osei Kofi, refuted claims government has refused to release funds for research works.

He argued the government has in place a bill for research funding and the sufficiency of the fund would be dependent on the kinds of proposal submitted for review by research institutions, universities, and the CSIR.

“So the idea is already there and the Mahama government has an Act for that,” he said, adding the only outstanding issue left to be dealt with has to do with areas in the country to be prioritized for the research.