By Okeoghene Akubuike
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, says research and development infrastructure and productivity in Nigeria stands at 0.02 per cent.
Bogoro said this during the inauguration of the Ad-hoc Committee on Research and Development, aimed at deepening the research and development mandate of the fund in Abuja on Thursday.
The executive secretary described the figure as very disturbing and in need of urgent improvement.
He said the absence of a national platform for the regulation and strengthening of research and development was responsible for the weak level in the country.
He said in developed countries the level of research and development was between three per cent and five per cent and in some cases 10 per cent.
Bogoro noted that investment in research and development and human capital was central for economic success.
According to him, there is ample evidence to show that research and development propelled by higher education has contributed to the rise and expansion of the world knowledge economy.
‘‘With the accelerated growth of a new global economy and the urgent focus on socio-economic issues, there is a need for a national recalibration and re-sensitisation of operations and policies targeted at a sustainable innovative research and development operations.
“It is in this vein that TETFund, propelled by my vision continues to advocate the establishment by law of a National Research and Development Foundation that will ensure a coordinated national framework for the sustenance and implementation of Research and development.
“Such a foundation when established, shall promote an effective interface between universities, government and the private sector especially the industrial subsector of the economy.’’
He, however, noted that the National Universities Commission led by its Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, was providing the leadership in respect of the institutionalisation of research and development.
According to him, the tripod loop is complete with the aggressive involvement of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and government.
Bogoro said that the fund had created a new department of Research and Development/Centre of Excellence to institutionalise research and development in tertiary institutions.
He said the ad-hoc committee would help provide strategic leadership internally to the process of implementing TETFund research and development mandate among the staff of the Fund.
Bogoro said the committee would ‘‘develop and design the intervention framework and also to lead the strategic integration of the Executive Secretary’s Sustainable Research and Development and Innovation recommended framework with relevant key stakeholders.”
He said the committee would be chaired by Prof. Placid Njoku, President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, with Mr Temitope Toogun, of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, is the co- Chairman,
Prof. Ibrahim Katampe, is the Director for Innovation and Technology Incubation at the Centre of Excellence in Emerging Technologies, Central State University, U.S. is tye Vice Chairman of the committee.
In his remarks, Placid noted that research and development had not been given the much needed attention in the country.
He stated that the group that ranked universities made research very critical in their ranking system.
“What makes institutions popular are not buildings or the number of students but research and the impact of research.”
The chairman said the committee would work closely with the Ministry of Science and Technology to leverage with the National Assembly, to have the law establishing a Research and Development Foundation instituted.
Toogun said the committee would work with the 9th Assembly to repackage and reposition the draft bill on the National Research and Development Council for sustainability.