The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro has advocated the need for Nigeria to move away from a resource to knowledge-based economy.
The Executive Secretary stated this while delivering a convocation lecture titled Forging Partnerships in the Triple Helix Model and the Drive for the Institutionalization of Nigeria’s Knowledge Economy at the 9th Convocation Ceremony of Veritas University, Abuja, recently.
Prof. Bogoro stated that despite Nigeria’s place as Africa’s leading economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow between 1.7 and 2.0 per cent in 2021, the GDP would be of no effect if it did not translate into solving the problems of its citizens.
According to him, the country must engage in problem-solving research and build a knowledge-based economy to ensure global competitiveness.
“The obvious reality is that nations across the world are closing borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic with underlining economic reasons. We must fix Nigeria by adding value to our natural resources for global competitiveness and sustainable knowledge economy,” he said.
Prof. Bogoro expressed worry that since after independence, Nigerian universities have been emphasizing teaching at the expense of research. He added that most of the research carried out in universities was for the purpose of acquiring degrees and not solving the nation’s socio-economic problems.
According to him, part of the problem is because there has not been adequate commitment of funds into Research and Development in the country and that partly accounts for the failure of research in the country.
The Executive Secretary stated that despite the periodic increase of TETFund’s National Research Fund (NRF) grant from N5 billion to N8.5 billion in 2021, the funds were still grossly inadequate.
He added the Fund has been making a case for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation in the country, which when operational, would source for over $2 billion as seed money to be injected into research in the country.
Also speaking at the event, the Chancellor of the university, Rev. Dr. Ignatius Kaigama stressed the quality education offered by the university and expressed commitment that the institution would continue to train students and equip them to develop self-confidence and become employers of labour.
In his convocation address, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku said over the years, the institution has laboured to equip the students morally and academically to prepare them for the future.
He added that despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the university utilized ICT to keep pace with its academic calendar during the lockdown and in keeping with Covid-19 protocols.