By Deji Elumoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday disclosed that the federal government would allocate half per cent of the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to research and innovation in a determined effort to enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
Buhari made this known in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of the 2021 technology and innovation expo with the theme: ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amid COVID-19 challenges’.
He said the measures adopted over the years by his administration have helped to increase research and innovation with the aim of achieving sustainable development.
According to him, “We are happy that this has been achieved in line with the decision taken by the African Union Executive Council in 2006 to establish a target for all member states of 1 percent of GDP investment in Research and Development (R&D) 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 percent 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 pandemic has asked tough questions of our national capabilities in the area of research and innovation, which are competently being answered through the commendable efforts of researchers and scientists.
He said: “As a government, we are committed to providing an enabling environment for the science and technology sector in order to unlock the enormous potential for innovation, wealth creation and economic growth.”
The president expressed confidence that through hard work and determination, and by effectively harnessing potential in science, technology and innovation, the country would overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and build a country that meets the aspirations of all citizens.