Fourteen months ago the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) commenced work on its N1billion ‘Knowledge Centre’; the secretariat project.
Though 2016 was a tough year for Nigeria, economically, but the NCS executive led by Professor Adesola Aderounmu, was undeterred hence a ground-breaking stone laying for the billion naira six storey edifice was done by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu with a projection that the building will be completed by the next 18 months.
According to the President of NCS, Aderounmu who made insight into why the project was conceived said there is the need to urgently setup an incubation/innovation centre to focus on addressing weak university-industry linkage.
Succinct to note that a recent world bank appraisal concludes that that the weak university-industry linkage in Nigeria is the greatest impediment to the development of a knowledge-based economy and however recommends the prioritization of measures to develop structures and systems for strengthening university-industry linkage through establishment of at least six university based knowledge parks /technology innovation centres over the next six years.
However, TechEconomy.ng’s recent visit to the construction site shows that pace of work has slowed.
The Executive Secretary of NCS, Mr. Iyiola Ayoola, blamed the situation on inadequate finances and unimpressive buy-in of stakeholders, especially the Government Agencies that initially expressed delight over the projected impact of the hub.
He told TechEconomy.ng that the Body project was executive to the level of first stairs because of prudent management of purse.
Mr. Ayoola said that while the project is now expected to be completed within the next twelve months, NCS has also adopted a model that will enable costs reduced by half.
“This project kicked off at the time the economy was in recession, so the cost of materials where almost doubled. But NCS is determined to it is executed within the next 12 months. We have adopted a model such that the cost will crash down by even half (N500million).
“Based on our latest estimation it will cost about N30million to complete each floor and we have six floors. What I mean where is erecting the skeletal structures.
“It is in our nature to advocate for the growth of the ICT industry in Nigeria; hence we are calling on stakeholders to rally round the President who has demonstrated much commitment towards this project.
According to him, the master plan for the edifice was not tampered with as experts’ recommendation and approval by the NCS working committee remain same.
“We are working according to plans and rules of the Government. In fact, we obtained every approval needed for the project and it costs a lot of money to do that”, the ES said.
“Donors- both corporate and individuals can buy-in into this project. You can take up a floor which will be named after you and other attached benefits”, he said in an interview with TechEconomy.ng,” he added.