President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase of the National Research Fund (NRF) grant managed by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), froman initial amount of N3 billion to N7.5 billion for the year 2020.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro made this known while speaking at the 2020 TETFund Board of Trustees (BOT) Retreat held in Abuja recently.
Prof. Bogoro stated that the latest approval by President Buhari makes TETFund the largest holder of research grants in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary further stated that President Buhari also approved the establishment of six medical simulation, research and training facilities in six Colleges of Medicine, with each of the six geo-political zone in the country playing host to one.
The approval, he said, provided an opportunity for TETFund to provide 12Covid-19 and related infectious disease molecular laboratories, two in each geo-political zones, thus making TETFund the highest single provider of Covid-19 test centres in Nigeria.
Still speaking on the Fund’s efforts at supporting the Federal Government in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, Prof. Bogoro added that the TETFund’s Board of Trustees also gave approval for the sponsorship of some Covid-19 research proposals to the tune of over N200 million mainly from universities and NAFDAC. This, he stated, was the reason TETFund was recently made the Secretariat for the Nigeria Covid-19 Research Consortium (NCRC).
Also speaking during the retreat, the new TETFund BOT Chairman, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam highlighted some of the key achievements of the Fund between 2016and2019.
He stated that that TETFund had within this period funded 80 auditorium lecture theatres, 500 classrooms, 2383 administrative and staff offices and 250 science laboratories across beneficiary institutions in the country.
Also funded were 40 fully equipped libraries, 38 ICT centres, 8 medical centres and bays, 100 vehicles for academic field research trips and provision of major infrastructure in the 12 newly established federal universities.
Alhaji Ibrahim-Imam stated that to further consolidate on TETFund’s achievements, the Fund has made provision in its 2020 Budget for emergency special intervention to the University of Abuja and special high impact projects to six universities, one from each geo-political zone.
He also noted that the agency will also provide take–off grants to the six newly created federal polytechnics and six colleges of education in each geo-political zone among other projects.
The BOT Chairman expressed the determination of the Board to build on what has been achieved at TETFund and improve the management of the Fund’s interventions in public tertiary institutions in the country.
“We will seek increase in both revenue collection and return on investment of the fund. We will scale up the provision of fit-for-purpose infrastructure, result-oriented research, and cutting-edge technology to our tertiary institutions. And we will do all these with utmost integrity,” he said.