By Felix Khanoba
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has approved N200 million to sponsor
COVID-19 research proposals in the country.
The research proposals are geared towards finding a solution to the dreaded pandemic.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, made this known at a retreat for the agency’s BoT in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the research proposals are expected mainly from universities and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N7.5 billion for the agency’s National Research Fund (NRF).
He said the new presidential approval is an increase of N4.5 billion from the initial N3 billion approved for 2020, adding that Buhari also approved six medical simulation research and clinical training facilities in six colleges of medicine in the country.
Prof. Bogoro, who expressed delight over the development, said the approval provided an opportunity for TETFund to provide twelve COVID-19 and related infectious disease molecular laboratories, making the fund the highest single provider of coronavirus test centres in Nigeria.
His words: “The BoT also endorsed and was subsequently approved by the President, that six Medical Simulation Research and Clinical Training facilities in six Colleges of Medicine (one in each geopolitical zone) are to be established this year.
“Individually, this provided an opportunity for twelve COVID-19 and related infectious disease Molecular Laboratories to be provided (two in each geopolitical zone), thus making TETFund the highest single provider of COVID-19 test Centres in Nigeria.
“The BoT also approved that TETFund sponsors some COVID-19 Research proposals to the tune of over N200 million, mainly from universities and NAFDAC, this being one of the reasons TETFund has recently been made the Secretariat for the Nigeria COVID-19 Research Consortium R&D.”
Speaking on the achievements of TETFund between 2011 and 2019, the BoT Chairman, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the Fund constructed 80 auditoriums and lecture theatres in the 223 beneficiary institutions.
Ibrahim-Imam noted that the TETFund also constructed 500 classrooms, 2,383 administrative and staff offices, 40 fully equipped libraries, 250 science laboratories, 38 ICT centers, 8 medical centers and sick bays, 100 vehicles and major infrastructures in the 12 newly established federal universities.
He said to consolidate on the achievements, TETFund has made provision in the 2020 budget for emergency special intervention to the University of Abuja and Special high impact projects to six universities, one from each geopolitical zone.
He further noted that the agency will provide take-off grants to the six newly created federal polytechnics and will also see to the construction of over 200,000 in beneficiary institutions.