By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Governing Council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has approved the establishment of 50 million dollars Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund (NCR&DF).
The Board disclosed this in a statement issued by its management, in Abuja, on Sunday.
It said that the approval was given at the end of its council meeting held in June.
“At the NCDMB Governing Council meeting which held on June 16, under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Council approved the deployment of 50 million dollars Research Fund.
“This is for sustainable funding of NCDMB’s mandate on Research and Development (R&D) as enshrined in Sections 37 to 39 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD), Act 2010, which empowers NCDMB to superintend over R&D activities in the oil and gas industry,’’ it said.
It added that the NCDMB was implementing the Research and Development Roadmap to institutionalise a robust R&D ecosystem that would lead to continuous development of technology, materials and process for industry application from indigenous research efforts.
According to the statement, a major success pillar is closing systemic weakness of inadequate funding architecture for R&D activities in the Oil and Gas industry.
It noted that Nigeria spends about 0.2 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on R&D and this indicated a poor commitment to R&D, resulting in over-dependence on foreign technology for critical economic development activities, including oil and gas operations.
“The NCDMB R&D Fund is expected to close this gap and will be applied in four broad intervention areas, namely-Research (basic and applied), establishment of Centers of Excellence in Academic and Research Institutes, sponsorship of commercialisation of Research and Sponsorship of endowment of professorial chair.
“The operating model has been designed to ensure transparent and well-focused application of the Fund.
“It includes a Governance structure to leverage experienced researchers and industry experts in the decision-making process of selecting activities to be funded from the NCDMB R&D Fund.
“The Fund will be domiciled in a TSA Sub-Account in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),’’ it said.
It further stated that the NCDMB would put in place an outcome focused performance metrics that would measure success in the application of the Fund and form part of the reporting template to the Governing Council on an ongoing basis
“Following the Governing Council approval, the Nigerian Content Research and Development Council (NCRDC), held a meeting on June 25 and revalidated the identified focus areas for the utilization of the Fund.
“The council also decided that the Fund would also be deployed in developing and implementing a communication strategy for effective dissemination of NCDMB R&D interventions as part of stakeholders’ management process.
“The NCRDC also approved the institution of a Performance management strategy to track progress and ensure application of the R&D fund in line with the key performance indicators (KPI) approved by the Governance Council.
“It also approved the list for distribution of the smart gas leak and smoke detector alarm device for field trial. The product which was conceptualised by Amal Technologies is a research prototype sponsored by NCDMB,’’ it said.
It further said that to achieve its R&D mandate, NCDMB developed the R&D framework anchored on seven policy thrust.
This, it said , include focus on market driven research, establishment of world class R&D Centers of Excellence, establishment of R&D Development Council and provision of sustainable funding to support R&D.
Other areas, it said include development of stakeholders’ collaboration matrix for R&D, provision of enablers for commercialization of research breakthrough and facilitation of acceptance and utilization of products of research by end users. (NAN)