The Tertiary Education Trust Fund says private Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in the country are already accessing its N7.5 billion National Research Fund.
The fund said the fund was meant to bolster the conduct of cutting-edge researches in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, said this on Monday while declaring open a four-day meeting of TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee in Abuja.
Bogoro said the breakthrough came two years after the Board of Trustees of TETFund granted the approval for private institutions to draw from the funds.
He said since its inauguration on September 24, 2020, the committee had gone far in implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to support government initiatives of responding to the threat of COVID-19 through ground-breaking research on phyto-medical drugs, prophylactics and vaccines.
He added that some of the results of the fund’s intervention would be announced soon.
He further said there were evidences that results of the fund’s research drive were already coming.
According to him, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure and Innoson Motors recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the utilisation of locally produced goods, signalling a step forward.
Bogoro said: “TETFund has also commenced funding of Defence and Security Research and Development toward responding to the insecurity challenges and insurgency in the country.
“It is geared toward making Nigeria self-sufficient in locally produced technology for the Armed Forces and other security agencies.
“Our vision is working, the governors are buying it, industries are buying it; we are involving the youths, we are hoping that soon, a national R&D summit will be held.”
The TETFund boss also announced the demise of four members of the committee: Prof. Emmanuel Ezugwu, Prof. Femi Odekunle, Prof. Habu Galadima, and Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe.
He disclosed that Laoye Jaiyeola of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group was brought in to replace Odekunle, who passed on as one of the four Vice Chairmen of the committee.
Speaking on the report of the TETFund committee, its Chairman, Prof. Gadzama Njida, described the report as its most important activity.
Njida said despite setbacks brought by the demise of their four colleagues, TETFund was able to sustain the progress of the committee’s work.
He, therefore, stressed the importance of an action plan after the report had been reviewed for the purpose of establishing the National R&D Foundation.
One of the Vice Chairmen of the committee, Mansur Ahmed, harped on the need for Nigeria to embrace problem-solving research.
Ahmed noted that countries such as China, UK, US and Russia currently distributing vaccines had moved into a stage of development where research and technology drive their national development.
Speaking on the report, Chairman of the Technical Coordination Committee of TETFund on Research, Dr. Mustapha Popoola, said over 390 institutions were visited by 39 groups subsumed in 13 subcommittees or thematic groups and covered about 85 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Popoola said the report had over 200 pages detailing basic issues about the country’s economic situation.