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Buhari orders agency to begin local manufacture of helicopter

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to release statutory funds due to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to enable it to function optimally.

Buhari, who gave the directive during a virtual meeting of the board of NASENI held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, also ordered the agency to commence manufacturing of “made-in-Nigeria” helicopters.

He said: “By its mandate, NASENI is strategically poised to develop local capacity in machine building and fabrication, which is critical to Nigeria’s industrial development. However, in order for it to realize its full potential, NASENI must be empowered through the provision of adequate financial, human and material resources and be given the autonomy and independence to forge international partnerships to acquire the relevant technologies for social, economic and industrial advancement of the country.

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“In this regard, I have directed the minister of finance budget and national planning and Federal Inland Revenue Services to commence remittances of funds approved by law to the agency.”

The Vice-Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, in a chat with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, confirmed that the agency has been directed by the president to produce a made-in-Nigeria helicopter.

He said: “About the helicopter, if you have been following, NASENI has demonstrated what it’s been able to achieve so far, and to go further because of the security and high precision required in the aerospace industry.

“So, every component produced is required to be certified before we can deploy. So, to fast-track these important things, that is the beginning. There is a matching order to the agency to have a made- in- Nigeria helicopter.”

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