The Director General, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr Halilu Shaba, has stressed the need to liberalise the Space Science and Technology industry with the private sector as key players. Accordingly, this will actualise the full benefits of the Nigeria Space Programme for socio-economic development in Nigeria.
During a courtesy visit, Dr Shaba disclosed this in Abuja while receiving a delegation from Proforce Limited. Dr Shaba, who appreciated the delegation for the timely visit, explained that the Agency is receptive to solution-driven companies with the required economic force and strength to secure Nigeria’s pride of place among other nations in the Space sector. As a result, the parties have signed an MoU for the first private sector-driven satellite in the country. NASRDA noted that the MoU on space technology is the first ever private sector initiative in the Nigerian Space Science and Technology sector.
The NASRDA Boss also assured the delegation of the Agency’s technical and professional capabilities to ensure the realisation of the proposed partnership in line with NASRDA’S stipulated mandate without any compromise. Dr Shaba emphasised that the agency, is legitimately empowered to provide the necessary technology, infrastructure and manpower to facilitate the innovations and solutions that the proposed partnership provides. He then assured the delegation of the agency’s support in collaborating with them on mutual interests that will be valuable to both parties.
This restatement comes after Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, reaffirmed NASRDA’s strategic and constitutional role as the only Government Agency saddled with the core mandate to build and launch satellites for various applications in Nigeria. The President explained that the development of Space Science and Technology, particularly the launch of earth observation, communication and navigation satellites, remains the core mandate of the nation’s premier Space Agency.
The agency also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for granting technical assistance through a programme called ‘Crop watch-ICP’ for crop monitoring and food security with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). During the occasion, Dr Shaba emphasised the need for access to EO-based systems to enhance real-time monitoring, automated crop watch, and increased agricultural productivity nationally and globally.