$1bn annual budgetary allocations needed to boost research in Nigeria ― Bogoro
•as FG inaugurates 160-member TETFund's R & D committee
THE Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro has asked the Federal Government to allocate a minimum of an annual budgetary threshold of $1 billion as funding portfolio for the National Research and Development (R & D) Foundation.
He has also called for appropriate law to support the establishment of the National R & D Foundation in order to provide a robust institutional framework and arrangement to deepen research activities in the country.
Bogoro made the recommendations during the inauguration of over 160-member of TETFund’s Research and Development Standing Committee (RSDC) by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on Thursday in Abuja.
He said: “When we consider the inevitable benefits of R & D and socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean – population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years from now.
“However, we are aware that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” he said.
Bogoro further noted that this recommended seed money of $1 billion should be considered as a necessary incentive by the government to kick-start the activities of the NRDF, saying it was envisioned that the private sector of the economy would key into the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it.
He commended the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating a commitment to deepen research and development in the country by approving 50 per cent increment in the National Research Fund of TETFund in 2020 budget.
He noted that President Buhari had approved the increase of the National Research Fund from N5 billion in 2019 to N7.5 billion in 2020 based on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of TETFund, having realised the position of content development especially the place of research and development in the global ranking of universities.
He insisted that the global ranking of tertiary institutions in Nigeria could be improved through the deepening of research, building manpower capacity and enhancing infrastructural base.
He said the committee comprising experts and best brains at home and in the diaspora would drive “our science, technology, and innovation,” stressing that R & D remains the most potent strategy to pilot the affairs of Nigeria towards sustainable development and global competitiveness.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, challenged members of the committee to ensure that Nigeria stops to be the dumping site for the industrialised nations of the world.
Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.
“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.
“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT)
“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.
Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.
“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive the industrialization of the country,” he said.
The Standing Committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents, with a former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega as a member among others.
The 13 sector-based thematic areas identified for research attention by the committee include agriculture including climate change, food security, food science and technology.
Others are environment and bioresources, medicine, pharmaceuticals, ICT/Digital economy, petroleum/fossil resources, industrialisation, engineering, infrastructure development, education, energy, governance and defence and military.