By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The Federal Government has inaugurated a 160-member standing committee of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Research and Development (R&D) to deepen research and development in the country.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Minister of State, Mr Chukuemeka Nwajuiba inaugurated the committee in Abuja on Thursday.
The Minister charged members of the committee to put their best to the national assignment.
He 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 aspirations and make them 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 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,’’ Adamu said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities for a mirage of challenges facing the country.
Suleiman, represented by Ikenna Elezieanya, House committee member, lamented the way Nigeria showed less concern to research.
He said that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve their economies.
“The committee will not only lead to a new way of government doing business, through the transfer of knowledge but open a new window of opportunity of mirage challenges.
“Research is the gateway of innovation.
“It is said that while countries like USA and Korea have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern,’’ he said.
He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.
The TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, urged the Federal Government to increase its annual funding for research and development (R&D) to $1 billion every year.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for the recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion, Bogoro said massive investment in research would bring about the desired development in the country.
Speaking further, the TETFund boss also made a case for the promulgation of a law that would bring into full force a National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF).
“To galvanise 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 cannot be overstated.
“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF.
“I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of $1 billion 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.
Bogoro further said that the TETFund’s R&D standing committee was expected to come up with its own recommendation on its funding requirement that would be suitable for efficient research activities.
He called for a robust collaboration.
He maintained there was a need for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.
Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Njidda Gadzama, said the event would 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.
“This will result to R&D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive the industrialisation of the country,’’ he said.
The 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 its three Vice-Presidents. (NAN)