By Tobi Adetunji
The Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), Professor Mansur Bako Matazu has said that work will commence soon on the abandoned installation of the agency’s facilities in the country in the wake of insurgency especially in the northern part of the country.
Professor Matazu, speaking to reporters at the MMA2 on his way back to Abuja, said contractors will come back to site in the next three weeks to resume installation work on its facilities in Bornu which was stopped following the spate of attacks in the area
According to him, Port-Harcourt Doppler radar was working well while upgrade was done in that of Lagos and Abuja adding that the important of the radar was to monitor fast moving weather system thereby enhancing the agency’s tracking event especially around the airports
Matazu explained that one of the radars covers 400 kilometers sphere adding that when six are operational that the whole country will be covered
Matazu said that the agency was expanding its services from aviation to maritime observation and agriculture among others to improve on its revenue.
He explained that the agency has started generating some revenue from other African countries because of its visibility and relevance in the scheme of things but aims to do more
According to him, meteorological services do not benefit only aviation and NiMET is trying to tap into its full potential to earn better and improve on its procurement and make the agency truly world class.
Professor Matazu said, “Yesterday we discussed on our major sources of funding it comes from aviation industry, it is part of our establishing act that we get funds from enroute charges, ticket charges and this makes us fairly very comfortable in terms of acquiring infrastructure especially high tech equipment whether in monitoring, forecasting and also simulation.
“Another window also we are experimenting with is diversification of our services as aviation is just one out of many that enjoy our services, we are expanding into marine observation and also our services into agriculture.
“We realize we have over 170m citizens of Nigerians that have access to hand sets and we want to leverage on this to deliver our services to businesses especially to farmers and in collaboration with service providers we just attach a token.
“And also government funding has been very encouraging even during the COVID- 19 we got 100% in terms of funding from government and also the ministry is assisting us in providing special intervention under the aviation security funding and also the BASA.
“So we are comfortable and we are in the procurement process of acquiring new equipment and upgrading obsolete.”
On the agency’s foray into the region he said, “We wanted NIMET to get visibility and for NIMET to get relevance and offering of services to countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Mozambique and Gambia ab-initio it was under the voluntary country partnership of World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
“We were offering the services for free initially it now gave us a very huge visibility, relevance and now presently United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is sponsoring our information in the Gambia we have been there for two years and we are getting some funding from that and also the WMO and African development Bank (AfDB) are making Nigeria an African regional hub, assisting other countries so bringing other projects. It has given us a window, relevance and an opportunity to greatly affect our revenue,” he explained.
The NIMET DG also spoke on staff motivation through welfare and providing the enabling environment for the staff to do its job through training stressing that the agency is leaving no stone unturned to raise the bar and be a world class service provider.