NGSA and USGS: The difference is clear


© ngsa-ng.org

Came across a post at Clastic Detritus on the 2011 fiscal year budget for the US for Geoscience and Geoscience related areas. This American Geological Institute
(AGI)  website has the detail for those who are interested but the amount budgeted for United States Geological Survey (USGS) is worth commenting on.

The U.S. Geological Survey is requested to receive $1.1 billion, an increase of $21.6 million over FY10. Major increases would include +$3 million for the New Energy Frontier Initiative, +$11 million for the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, +9 million for the WaterSMART Program, +$3.6 million for work in Chesapeake Bay as part of the Treasured Landscape Initiative,  +$13.4 million for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, +$4.7 million for hazards, +$13.9 million for the Global Change Program and +$4 million for marine spatial planning through a partnership with the Minerals Management Service.

These figures are enough to make any Nigerian Scientist lick his/her lips with a bit of sadness. That after comparing this with what Nigeria budgeted for the  geosciences in 2009 (There is nothing yet for the 2010 budget as Mr. President is still AWOL). Here is the breakdown for the geosciences under the Ministry of Mines:

NIGERIAN GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AGENCY.

TOTAL ALLOCATION:                      1,373,874,333

TOTAL PERSONNEL COST                     700,190,579
SALARY & WAGES – GENERAL                 518,039,510
CONSOLIDATED SALARY                      518,039,510
BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES – GENERAL                                         117,396,131
NON-REGULAR ALLOWANCES                                                      2,620,000
RENT SUBSIDY                                                              114,776,131
SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION                                                        64,754,939
NHIS                                                                       25,901,975
PENSION                                                                    38,852,963
TOTAL GOODS AND NON – PERSONAL SERVICES – GENERAL                         454,233,754
TOTAL CAPITAL PROJECT                                                     219,450,000
ONGOING PROJECTS (OTHERS)                                                 219,450,000
REGIONAL MAPPING PROGRAMME                                                 22,370,000
GROUND FOLLOW UP GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY                                        16,000,000
BASE METAL, METALLIC & PRECIOUS METALS PROGRAMME                                                                         0
GEOHAZARD MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME                                             16,000,000
NATIONAL AIRBORNE MAGNETIC, ELECTRO MAGNETIC (EM) GRAVITY SURVEY                                                                          5,000,000
NATIONAL RESEARCH LABORATORY PROGRAMME                                     70,000,000
PUBLICATION & DOCUMENTATION OF NGSA DATA                                    5,000,000
CENTRE FOR MARINE GEOLOGY                                                  16,000,000
PROCUREMENT OF TRAINING EQUIPMENT & PHOTOCOPYING MACHINE
2,000,000
PROCUREMENT OF FUNITURE FOR ZONAL HEADQUATERS                                       0
NATIONAL CORE DEPOSITORY PROGRAMME                                         40,000,000
REGIONAL GEOTECHNICAL MAPPING                                               2,000,000
HYDROGEOCHEMICAL STUDIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT                        3,000,000
NATIONAL GEOINFORMATION CENTRE.                                             5,000,000
DRILLING PROGRAMME                                                         12,370,000
PURCHASE NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL LAW BOOKS, JOURNALS ETC 200 NO
500,000
FACILITY MANAGEMENT, SECURITY AND CLEANING EQUIPMENT
2,210,000
JOINT INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECT                                        2,000,000

When you compare $1.1billion Dollars for the  US geological survey to $9 million for the NGSA then is not suprising why we are so far behind in all aspects especially technically in the geosciences. Yes I know very well that Nigeria is no USA in terms of money available to spend but in my opinion a country who income comes from a resource that requires geoscientific enterprise can do better than N1.3 billion for the NGSA. Some of the broken down figures are so ridiculous that I doubt if there were to be spent as stated. N5000000 ($34000) on Airborne Magnetic, Electromagnetic and Gravity surveys? N70000000 ($470000) on National Research Laboratory Programs?!

From the budget it seems that the NGSA only has salaries of its workers in mind: for doing next to nothing. Nothing, if even today the best topographic maps of the country date from the 60’s . The best Geological maps are based on the 1:250000 maps made by Shell back in the days when they were still exploring for oil. Or even the sobering fact that the best geological work done in the country were largely by foreigners before the 90’s. Or that the best brains prefer to work at the oil firms or worse, in a bank than face the risk of frustration in the Academia. And yet there are large swaths of the country were nothing is specifically known. And there is a Nigerian Geological Survey who are supposed to be at the forefront of the country’s quest to push reserves past the 40 million barrel mark or utilize the potential offered by solid minerals as a basis for economic sustenance apart from petroleum. If we plan to put the country among the top 20 economies by 2020 then spending N1.3 billion (half of which is spent on salaries) on the NGSA is not enough.

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