Concerns Rise Over NILEST, NARICT Merger Amid Stakeholders’ Well-Being

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By Bello Hamza, Abuja

The Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria is concerned about the merger of the Nigerian Institute of Leather And Science Technology (NILEST) and the National Research Institute For Chemical Technology (NARICT), stating that it poses risks to the well-being of stakeholders.

It would recall that the issue of merger of government ministries departments and Agencies (MDAs) has become increasingly prevalent since the release of Oronsanye’s report on public service reforms over twelve years ago.

This is often touted as a strategy to reduce the cost of governance. Other reasons for the mergers are; the elimination of overlaps, duplications, and redundancies in the functions and mandates of the government entities, which would improve service delivery and performance.

In a statement issued by the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria signed by the National President, Dr. Julius Putshaka, said that it’s imperative to critically evaluate the potential drawbacks associated with such mergers of some agencies.

The statement read in parts: “The Opposition of the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists of Nigeria to the merger of these agencies stems from concerns about the potential loss of specialized professional focus as these institutions have divergent mandates.

“While NILEST is saddled with its mandate of carrying out research and manpower training in the areas of leather and leather products technology producing graduates serving the tanning industries and several units in other government agencies, NARICT on the other hand holds the responsibility of undertaking research in the sourcing of raw materials for the production of chemicals for industrial applications.

“It must be emphasized that NILEST has played pivotal roles in the capacity building of critical sectors in the leather and leather product sector. With functional centres and extension, offices spread all over the six geo-political zones of the country, it has served as a driving force for entrepreneurs in the value chain.

“The Institute has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and artisans across the country in partnership with different organizations and state governments and is still creating more avenues for such activities.

“It is worthy of note to mention the potential impact of the Institute to generate wealth and foreign exchange for the country through the production of exportable quality finished leather and leather products in its major centres located in Sokoto, Kano, and Maiduguri.

Just like the globally acclaimed Central Leather Institute in India, NILEST also offers technical assistance through training courses on design development, sample making and fabrication, consultancy, preparation of feasibility reports, and quality control, among various other activities.”

They also noted that with the above breakthrough and impacts on several fronts, the merger would therefore sent negative impulses to stakeholders in the leather sector, especially at this moment when the leather and leather products policy of the federal government is being implemented by NILEST.

“We argue that the merger may also lead to confusion in decision-making, and decreased responsiveness to specific issues or inconsistency in the implementation of government policies, disruptions to existing services or programs in the leather value chain which is being executed by NILEST, ” the statement read.

They said that there would also be Stakeholder dilution of ideas and erosion of professional Values. As stakeholders, the Society observes that with the mergers of these institutions, the supposed synergies may be unfavorable to stakeholders leading to the failure of the promised benefits of such mergers.


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