0.5% R&D allocation is for projects of national interest — FG

The Federal government says that the 0.5 per cent allocated to research and innovation by President Muhammadu Buhari administration is to be deployed to support  research and innovative projects of national interest.

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), said this at the Stakeholders’ Forum on the Allocation of 0.5 per cent of the GDP to STI sector on Tuesday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Buhari in March 2021 had allocated 0.5 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product for the funding of research and development in the country.

The minister noted that the money was for the entire science, technology and innovation   ecosystem and not only for the ministry.

He said this cut across all sectors of the economy which were research and innovation-driven including research institutes, federal and state universities, organised private sector among others.

Onu pointed out that the effort of the President in that regard was one that had never been done before in Nigeria and was an opportunity to grow the economy using STI.

“The National Science, Technology and Innovation policy articulates the establishment of both the National Research Innovation Council (NRIC) and the National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF).

“This will help the realisation of a viable national system of innovation, focusing on inclusive  growth and facilitating federal, sectoral, regional, state and local level innovations,’’ he said.

The minister maintained that the importance of STI to nation building could not be over emphasized, as the economic success as well as the industrial leadership of nations were based and driven by STI.

He said the meeting offered the opportunity to work out strategies for attaining the implementation of 0.5 per cent of the GDP to the STI sector for research and innovation in Nigeria.

He enjoined that every effort should be made to put Nigeria on the trajectory of economic greatness for the overall wellbeing and happiness of Nigerians.

Mohammed Abdullahi, Minister of State for STI, also noted that a report by UNESCO indicated that a robust investment by countries in research and development infrastructure contributed to sustained growth and employment.

Prof. Abubakar Aliyu, Commissioner, Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Niger state, remarked that a committee on implementation of the 0.5 per cent should be set up.

Aliyu stressed on the need to get the work done in order to sustain Onu’s efforts.

Mrs Maryam Garbal, Commissioner of Power, Science and Technology, Bauchi State, commented on the need for state governments to commit resources to complement the efforts of the federal government.(NAN)