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0.5% of Nigeria’s GDP will be allocated for research and innovation – Buhari

President Mohammadu Buhari represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo says 0.5 percent of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be allocated to research and innovation.

He said this on Monday while declaring open the ‘5-day 2021 Technology Expo with the theme “Science, Technology, and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 Challenges”, organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology at Eagles Square, Abuja.

The Tech expo is aimed at showcasing research and development results and the products and services of inventive minds in the country.

The President also said that in the past few years the federal government has made significant improvements in the budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Science and Tech.

He said the 0.5 percent allocation to research and innovation is in line with the decision taken at the African Union Executive Counsel in 2006 to establish a target for all member states of  1% of GDP investment in research and development in order to boost innovation, productivity and economic growth.

‘‘We are fully committed to the belief that science, technology, and innovation can be part of Nigeria as well. We have some of the brightest minds in the world in the innovation economy and I am convinced this Expo can and should be the vanguard for our efforts not only to foster economic recovery but to reposition Nigeria entirely as an innovation-driven nation.

‘‘I am aware of the efforts of the ministry of science and technology in this competition to develop a homegrown solution, especially those to minimize the effects of the pandemic on the healthcare system of the country by constituting ministerial committee on COVID-19  remedies and natural compounds to authenticate claims for Anti-COVID-19 products produced by our scientists and traditional herb scientists and researchers.

‘‘As a government, we are committed to providing an enabling environment for the science and technology sector in order to unlock the enormous potentials for innovation, wealth creation, and economic growth.

‘‘In the last few years, we have also made considerable improvements in the budgetary allocations to the ministry, this will help to increase research and innovation with the aim of achieving sustainable development.

‘‘We are aware that only a few African countries  have met this target but as a result of the challenges of this economy, we will allocate a minimum of 0.5%  of our GDP to research and innovation as a way to  fast-track meaningful development.’’

To make the economy competitive, he said his administration In February 2018 issued Executive Order No 5 for local content development.

‘‘With this, all ministries and p agencies were directed to engage our professionals in the planning, execution, and design of all contracts and transactions reserved for all engineering and technology components.

‘‘To promote national competitiveness and productivity in all sectors of the economy, this administration will continue to support science and technology and innovation sector by providing opportunities.”

In the efforts to deepen broadband penetration, Buhari said the government is working hard to bridge the digital divide by increasing access to broadband connectivity through our National Broadband Plan which was launched in 2020.

“ We working hard to bridge the digital divide by increasing access to broadband connectivity through our National Broadband Plan which was launched in 2020. Suffice it to say we will achieve 90% broadband penetration by 2025. That will give special attention to unserved and underserved areas when the telecoms services are provided.

‘‘ To achieve this, the federal government has also engaged the state governors at NEC level on the Right of Ways (RoW)  charges for laying infrastructure needed for Broadband infrastructure such as fibre optics. This will reduce charges for broadband services by the service providers.

‘‘Many states have already complied and now charge as low as N140 per metre while some states have completely removed the charges.  In pursuing this work, it has been recognized that internet access and broadband penetration are pillars for pillars of innovation.’’

“I am confident that by effectively harnessing our potentials through science and technology, we will build a nation that l meet the aspiration of all our citizens and earn the respect of the world,’’ he added.

He charged all the participating exhibitors to be steadfast and have confidence that their products and services will make Nigeria truly a great nation.

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