The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, has called on government and the private sector to shore up investment in research to unlock positive development in the Nigerian economy.
Bogoro stated this while delivering a lecture at the 9th Convocation Ceremony of Veritas University, Abuja, with the theme: “forging partnerships in the triple helix model and the drive for the institutionalisation of Nigeria’s Knowledge economy.”
The TETFund boss noted that the country’s economic growth can rapidly translate into solving the problems of its citizens, through support for cutting-edge research.
He said despite Nigeria being Africa’s leading economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP), projected to grow between 1.7 per cent and 2.0 per cent in 2021, it will be meaningless without solving the problems of its citizens.
According to him, the country must engage in problem-solving research and build a knowledge-based economy to ensure global competitiveness.
“Today investment in R&D is tomorrow’s sustainable revenue for the investing nation. We can not afford to waste more time for reinventing the wheels when we can leverage on innovations
across the globe to fast-track development.”
While lamenting that since after independence, Nigerian universities have been emphasising teaching at the expense of research, Bogoro noted that most of the research carried out in universities were for the purpose of acquiring degrees and not solving the nation’s socio economic problems.
He said despite the Federal Government’s move to increase research grants to N8.5 billion in 2021, the money was still grossly inadequate to achieve the desired goals.
The TETFund boss said the agency has been making a case for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation in the country, adding that when operational, the foundation would source for over $2 billion as seed money to be injected into research.
Also speaking, the Chancellor of the Catholic-owned Veritas University, Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama, expressed satisfaction over the quality education offered by the institution, adding that some of its graduates have continued to thrive within and outside the shores of the country.
Kaigama, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, expressed commitment that the university will continue to train students and equip them to develop self-confidence and become employers of labour, urging the graduands to remain focused and make the institution proud in their various fields of endeavor.
On his part, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, said over the years, the institution laboured to equip the students morally and academically to prepare them for the world of work and further studies.
Ichoku noted that the university will commence the Faculty of Law as soon as approval is given by the National Universities Commission (NUC) .
He put the cost of constructing the new faculty at N400 million, adding that the project would be completed by June 2021.
Ichoku disclosed that 32 among the 421 graduating students came out with first class honours.