By Doosuur Iwambe
The federal government has said that Investment in Research and Development (R&D) is the only key that would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.
Daily Times reports that this statement came when the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) urged the Federal Government to increase its annual funding for Research and Development (R&D) to 1 billion dollars every year.
Speaking during the inauguration of TETFund’s Standing Committee on Research and Development (R&D) in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu tasked the newly inaugurated members to work efficiently in order not to fail Nigerians.
Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that the future of Nigerians depended on the committee members.
“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’’, the minister said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.
Bogoro who revealed that massive investment in research would bring about the desired development in the country stressed the need to strengthen laws that will bring into full force a NRDF to deepen research in the country.
“To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.
“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.
“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the 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 for now,” he said.
Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all round development in the country.
“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it’’, he added.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.
Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.
He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is sad that while countries like the USA, Korea and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”
He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.
Responding, the 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 robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.