FG to allocate 1% of GDP to research fund, says Minister

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The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, says the Federal Government will soon start allocating one per cent of its Gross Domestic Product( GDP) to the Science, Technology and Innovation Fund.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported  that Onu made the disclosure on Monday in Sokoto, during an interactive with the members of the Senate of the University of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

He said that the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, which was formulated about 30 years ago was never implemented.

Onu said:”Consequently, the National Research and Innovation Council has never met until in 2014.’’

”In the same vein, the policy came into existence on Jan. 7, 2016 for the first time in the country.

”Efforts are also on to legalise the council at the National Assembly, hence it will have the necessary legal backing.”

The minister said that the National Research and Innovation Fund would reduce the problems of underfunding of Research and Development in the Science, Technology and Innovation.

Onu said that President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to give adequate support to Science, Technology and Innovation.

The minister explained that the ministry was now focusing more on ensuring food security in the country.

Onu stressed: ”Nigeria must feed Nigerians as there is no reason why any Nigerian should go to bed at night on an empty stomach.

”Nigeria also has no business importing food, and it is lamentable that the country is spending over N1 billion daily, on importing rice for instance.

”Nigeria must also work hard in the area of the diversification of her energy sources and renewable energy is the key to unlocking her huge potentials.”

He commended the university for rendering huge support to the Sokoto Energy Research Centre, which had enabled it to remain as a Centre of Excellence on renewable energy.

The Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria ( ECN), Prof. Eli Bala, said that renewable energy was indispensable in realizing the change agenda of the nation.

Bala promised that the commission would continue to support the Sokoto Energy Research Centre, to enable it achieve its core mandate.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, urged the federal and state governments to set aside some funds for the mass production of appliances developed by Research Institutes across the country.

Zuru said: ”No nation can make a quantum jump to a state-of-the-art technology through Science and Technology.

”We are also happy that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to improving the sector, and we are assuring him that, we share in his vision for Nigeria.

”We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that his lofty dreams for Nigeria are realized soon.”

Kelechi is a writer at The Herald. His many penchants include Poetry, Coding and Rock music. When he is not writing, Kelechi is probably binging on a TV show.

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