Nigeria commitment towards research and development has garnered considerable interest as the government channeled investments into this field is deemed inconsistent. This is due to the vast possibilities it offers, with its profound effects playing a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of progress and advancement for the entire society. The analysis of Government Budgetary Allocation on Research and Development (GBARD) between 2010 and 2019 revealed that the Federal Government consistently allocated an average of ₦91.88 billion each year towards research and development endeavors, aiding progress and innovation in diverse fields.
The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), an organization under the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, commissioned the report. In terms of research and development funding, the year 2015 had the lowest amount of ₦46.6 billion, while 2017 reached a peak with ₦197.4 billion. Analyzing the figures, it was found that the Federal Government allocated ₦71.9 billion, ₦57 billion, and ₦65.4 billion in 2010, 2011, and 2012 respectively. In 2013, a substantial sum of ₦125.5 billion was allocated, ₦66 billion in 2014, ₦46.6 billion in 2015, and ₦66.7 billion in 2016.
More long-term financing structures is needed in Nigeria.
From a staggering peak of ₦197.4 billion in 2017, there was an abrupt plunge to ₦126.3 billion in 2018, followed by a further drop to ₦96.5 billion in 2019. This observation made in the report emphasizes the irregularity in the financial support allocated for research and development initiatives and associated tasks. It shows the necessity of having a strategic governance structure that establishes the focus, course, and financial support of R&D initiatives in the country. Nigeria needs more long-term financing structures and regulations to bolster research and development efforts, given that the underfunded recorded in the field.
Promoting increased spending on research and development is critical for boosting innovation, development, and competitiveness across the board. The report suggested various approaches to address policy recommendations, such as increased funding in research and development, investments with a longer time horizon, fostering public-private collaborations, and implementing measures that guarantee stability in mitigating any disturbances arising from shifting government policies. In an interview, National President of the Association of Nigerian Inventors, Lawrence Nzenagu, advocated for the creation of a dedicated bank for inventors.
GERD reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Nzenagu further urged for governments collaboration with the private sector to secure supplementary funds dedicated to research and development. In light of inventors, having an inventors bank would be paramount. Empathy towards others’ experiences is truly understood only when one has personally lived through similar circumstances. While sitting comfortably in a well-equipped office, it becomes challenging to comprehend the emotions and realities of those residing on the streets. He added that the inventors’ bank should be staffed with competent inventors who possess the knowledge required to conduct research, obtain patents, and bring marketable products to fruition.
Based on data from Statista, Nigeria gross domestic expenditure on research & development (GERD) reached 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. Research and development spending in the country showed a consistent upward trend during the observed period. In 2020, Nigeria allocated approximately 1.3 billion U.S. dollars for research and development. The progress in research has sparked the expansion of science and technology, resulting in industrialization, the generation of employment opportunities, higher income levels, increased production of goods and services, and innovation.
Embracing research brings forth a myriad of advantages.
Research plays a vital role in Nigeria, and its significance extends far beyond mere recognition. Embracing research brings forth a myriad of advantages: fostering innovation, enhancing critical thinking, acquiring reliable knowledge, broadening intellectual horizons, resolving complex issues, and strengthening overall aptitude. Nigerian government has actively fostered innovation through the establishment of various research agencies spanning diverse sectors. These include Raw Materials Research and Development Council(RMRDC) responsible for industrial raw materials growth, promotion, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) among others.