The Federal Government says it will allocate 0.5% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to research and innovation to enhance the country’s economic growth and development.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the disclosure in a speech delivered today on his behalf by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening of the 2021 Technology and Innovation Expo themed “Science, Technology, and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainability Amidst COVID-19 challenges”.
President Buhari said the measures adopted by his administration in budgetary allocation to the sector over the years have helped to increase research and innovation with the aim of achieving sustainable development.
The President commended the country’s researchers and scientists on their effort in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Speaking about the collaboration with the states to improve broadband penetration and connectivity, the President said his administration is currently working to bridge the digital divide by increasing access to broadband with the National Broadband Plan which was launched this year.
The plan is aimed at achieving 90% broadband penetration by 2025 and give special attention to the unserved and underserved areas when deploying telecom services.
“To achieve this, the Federal Government will also engage the State Governors at the National Economic Council on right of way charges for laying of broadband infrastructure such as fibre optic cables.
“We are pursuing this cause because we recognize that internet access and broadband penetration are pillars of the innovation economy,” the President added.
He referenced the issuance of Executive Order No. 5 (“EO5”) in February 2018, as another demonstration of support and confidence in the Science and Technology sector by the administration especially in promoting domestic goods and services.
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, acknowledged the support of the President and the commitment of the administration in enhancing the growth of Science and Technology in the country.
He expressed confidence that with improved funding for the sector, Nigerian researchers will proffer home-grown solutions to some of the challenges affecting the country.
Shortly after presenting awards to winners of the 774 Young Nigerian Scientists Presidential Award (774-YONSPA), the Vice President embarked on a tour of the exhibition pavilion in the company of Ministers of Science and Technology; Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Pauline Tallen; Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi among other guests.
The 774-YONSPA award winners include Edeani Izuchukwu Godswill from Enugu State who won the first prize; Akinwande Oluwatomisin from Ondo State won the second prize, while Etukudoh Emmanuel Imeh from the FCT won the third prize.