‘Poor research financing hampering growth prospects’
The need for the country to brace up in the area of funding research activities adequately was re-echoed over the weekend, as experts insist that unless the trend is urgently addressed, the nation will continue to miss its growth prospects and may not catch up with its peers soon.
The Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Prof. Elemo, alongside other experts, made the observations when her counterpart at the Defence Research and Development Bureau, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Air Vice Marshal Jomo Osahor, paid her a courtesy visit in Lagos.
She lamented that currently, funding of research institutes in the country is less than 0.1 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This amount is too small and the country must brace up in this regard knowing that the only way to solve the country’s problems is through adequate research and development. Until funding improves, Nigeria would remain an underdeveloped nation”, Elemo said.
She urged the government and other concerned Nigerians to wake up to adequate research funding in order to industrialise the country, make it self-reliance, create jobs for the teaming population (particularly the youths) and save huge foreign exchange currently expended on imported goods and services that could be adequately sourced locally.
Elemo called on the Nigerian Armed Forces to take advantage of over 250 research and development technologies, which FIIRO has developed, out of which 100 have been completely packaged into Ready-for-immediate-industrialisation to tackle their challenges.
FIIRO boss, while taking the AVM through the achievements of the institute pointed some of the areas that might interest the armed forces to include ready to use military rations (meals) and High Nutrient Biscuits.
In his response, AVM Osahor revealed that the need for the Defence Research and Development Bureau arose from numerous challenges facing the armed forces which called for looking inwards for permanent solutions, adding that so far, they are not disappointed for doing so.
“For a year plus, we had challenges that let to grounding of some of fleet. Even our foreign partners appear to be foot dragging and in some cases say the fleets unserviceable. At a point we muted conspiracy on their part to ground our fleet and more importantly, a test on our capacity.
“We had to do something. So, we took up the challenge and I call tell you within two months, our looking inwards recorded over 75 per cent success. We overhauled about 75 per cent of the fleet”, Osahor disclosed.
When we invited the Germans and the Americans, they told us that it was impossible to, and that we should pay over 16million for accessment, before we can talk about the repairs, but we achieved our aim with just N5 million.
Explaining further Osahor stated that when the Germans and the Americans were invited, they told the military that it was impossible to service the fleets and when they were pressed to do so, they charged over N16 million for assessment alone, before talking about the repairs.
But we braced up to the challenge and with about N5million, we did the job locally and are bold to say that the challenge and the success recorded so far is a clear testimony that the country has the capacity to provide for self, hence, the armed forces through his bureau is now on the lookout for strategic partners in the areas of military needs.
“This explains the more reason why we are on a visit to FIIRO”, he stressed, adding that it is also aimed at making the Nigerian Armed Forces self-reliant and more combatant to its challenges..
“For us to succeed, we need to partner with people in the field and that’s why we at FIIRO. There are so many areas to collaborate”, the AVM Osahor reiterated, saying the ready to eat ration and the high nutrient density biscuits to boost the energy of troops are in the right direction.He urged FIIRO to equally look into products that could bring relief to the stress soldiers undergo in the course of their duties.
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