THE Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has urged the Federal Government to increase its annual funding for research and development to one billion dollars.
Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary of TETFund made this call during the inauguration of TETFund’s Research and Development (R&D) Standing Committee on Thursday in Abuja.
“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,” said Bogoro.
“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of one billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.”
He stated that the increase became necessary when the benefits of the R&D were considered within the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria.
“When we consider 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,” Bagoro added.
The Executive Secretary commended Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari for the recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion, stating that the massive investment in research would bring about the desired development in the country.
Inaugurating the Committee, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, represented by Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, the Minister of State for Education, charged members of the committee to put their best to the national assignment.
“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement,” Adamu said.
“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).”
He stressed that Nigeria’s future depends on the work of the committee describing as a national calling that requires almost all the members,”
Aminu Suleiman, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, also represented by Ikenna Elezieanya said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.
However, Suleiman 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.
“Research is the gateway to 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,” Suleiman stated.