Poor budgetary allocations may hamper the National space research and development agency (NASRDA) from performing its role optimally. The NASRDA began many years ago as a response to citizens quest for a new frontier for human development. It offers a unique platform for effective exploration of natural resources and protection of the environment.
A statement entitled, “Re – 24 years after, Nigeria's space programme loses traction despite yearly allocation”, posited that despite its funding problems, it cannot be said to be completely loosing traction because many successes have been achieved over the years. NASRDA, which is made up of 16 other sub agencies to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria's cyber security and a vibrant digital economy, has recorded a lot of successes despite its constraints.
Since the coming into office of its present management led by the director general, Dr Halilu Ahmed Shaba, he has introduced a lot of reforms which has led to the acknowledgement of Nigeria as one of the fastest growing space developing countries. He has succeeded in revising a 25- year road map for the implementation of the national space policy which was approved by the Federal Executive Council to systematically leapfrog Nigeria to where it wants to be in the committee of space- faring countries of the world. Recent research by the international space agency attests to this fact as against a recent misleading report.
One cannot deny the colossal financial muscle required to venture into any meaningful exploration of space – which to a great extent accounts for why most developing nations like Nigeria are still lagging behind in this.
The space race has truly stimulated great interest in developing countries like Nigeria which has over the last 20 years made several noteworthy exploits in its quest for space advancement. For example, trailing behind the world powers is the Indian federation which has the fourth largest space budget in the world, injecting over $4.267 billion, behind only the U.S.A, China and Russia. This is in contrast to Nigeria's N101.744 billion in three years, while also supporting 14 mini agencies which gulped N15 billion.
Since the coming of the management of NASDRA by Dr. Halilu Shaba there has been a drop in total allocations to the agency and interestingly over 90% of it budgets are for paying salaries (personnel), while a paltry N1.8 billion is budgeted for capital.
Even so, today's investment in satellite and space technology is beginning to have a significant impact on the socioeconomic development of Nigeria.
Indeed, Nigeria is making progress and the successes are progressively being noticed with the private sector now taking its pride of place as far as investment in space-related activities are concerned.