President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday disclosed that the Federal Government would allocate half a percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) to research and innovation in order to enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
Buhari made this known on Monday in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) at the opening of the 2021 Technology and Innovation Expo with the theme: “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID – 19 challenges”.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President (Media and Publicity), Laolu Akande, said the President also spoke about the efforts of his regime in the past few years especially in budgetary allocation to the sector.
He said, “We are happy that this has been achieved in line with the decision taken by the African Union’s Executive Council in 2006 to establish a target for all member States of 1 per cent of GDP investment in Research and Development in order to improve innovation, productivity, and economic growth.
“We are aware that only a few African countries have met this target, but as a result of the challenges of this critical sector of the economy, we will allocate a minimum of 0.5 per cent of our GDP to research and innovation as a way to fast track meaningful development.”
commending the heroic contribution of Nigerian researchers and scientists in the wake of the COVID – 19 pandemic, Buhari said “the COVID – 19 pandemic has asked tough questions of our national capabilities in the area of research and innovation. I am gratified to report that we are competently answering these questions through the commendable efforts of our researchers and scientists.”
Recalling how the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Nigeria, the President stated that shortly after the patient was identified, a sample of the virus was sent to the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, at Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State.
He said, “There, a team led by Prof. Christian Happi, analysed the sample and was able within 48 hours to share the very first genome sequence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 from Africa with the global science community.
“This finding was shared faster than what was being done in some developed countries. More importantly, it was also much faster than sending it to a laboratory overseas. That last bit is very important as it is ground-breaking.”