The Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has lamented that Nigeria invests an abysmal 0.2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Research and Development (R&D).
The Minister, who declared this at the Second Research and Development Fair, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, South south Nigeria, however launched a 10-year local content R&D Roadmap.
He also reconstituted a seven-man Nigerian Content Research and Development Council.
“To put certain realities into context, there is a need to do a comparative analysis. Currently, developed nations such as the USA, China, Japan, Germany, and South Korea spend between 2.5 to 4% of their annual Gross Domestic Production (GDP) on R&D, while developing nations like India, Malaysia, Brazil spend between 0.7% to 1.2%. Nigeria lags well behind by spending only about 0.2% of its GDP on Research & Development,” Sylva said in a keynote address at the event.
The underfunding of R&D, Sylva said, “reflects on Nigeria’s overdependence on foreign goods and services. This is unsustainable if we are serious about building a national technological capability that will drive economic growth. It is my firm believes that this trend can be mitigated through a collaborative approach to research and innovation.
“It is important, however, to clear up a certain misconception: The funding of research is not the sole responsibility of National Governments, rather, big spenders on research and development globally come from the private sector.
“In 2019 private sector practitioners in the ICT hardware & electronic equipment sector, pharmaceutical & biotechnology sector, automobiles and components sector cumulatively spent US$528bn on R&D representing 22% of the US$2.3 trillion global R&D spend. In India, the private sector contributed 38.1% of the country’s R&D spend.
“The essence of this data analytics is to reinforce the importance of our local service companies to embrace investment in R&D as a key component of their business model; and it is my expectation that this R&D fair will provide the needed stimulus.
“Still on funding and in line with our commitment to provide leadership, I am pleased to officially announce the creation of the “Nigerian Content Research and Development Fund” with an initial seed capital of $50 million.”
Continuing, the minister said that the fund “is designed for application in the following areas as earlier elaborated by the ES NCDMB: The establishment of Research Centers of Excellence.
Funding support for Research Commercialization Funding support for Basic and Applied Research Endowment of professorial chair.
“The fund though clearly insufficient, signifies the premium the present administration places on growing Our Nation’s research and development capabilities.
“I encourage the private sector to replicate the global practice by complementing the Nigerian Content Research & Development Fund and actively support the Government’s drive in upscaling our national research architecture.”
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