NCS tasks govt on R&D funding

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The leading body of IT professionals in the country, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has tasked the Federal Government to increase funding of research and development (R&D).

It insisted that no nation could move forward without attention being paid to the development of the information communication technology (ICT) sector

President of NCS, Prof David Adewumi who spoke on the sideline at the group’s national conference held in Enugu, Enugu State said the global trend is for government to take the driver’s seat by providing the funds for experts to embark on R&D which would ultimately culminate to solutions to the many problems confronting humanity.

 “The Federal Government is not doing enough because any development in any part of the world is brought about by R&D and today, particularly in respect of the ICT sector, government is not doing enough,” he said.

According to him, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) now has the challenge to fly the flag in this respect as the government has empowered it to show the way forward in the industry.

He expressed optimism that with the appointment of a new helmsman at NITDA, the new DG will continue the work where the former DG stopped.

He said, “But all hopes are not lost in this respect as the NITDA should take up the challenge of ensuring that the Federal Government does the needful in the area of doing more to encourage R&D.

“The Federal Government has given that responsibility to NITDA and we are hopeful that the agency will live up to expectation.”

On the percentage of the annual Appropriation Act to be allocated to the R&D, the university don urged the government to adhere to the standard set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on funding the educational sector. He said allocating 26 per cent of the national budget to funding the sector is not too big, adding that government should be thinking of upping the game in view of the importance of ICT to the national economy.

 “How much funding goes to R&D should be part of the budget on education which should be 26 per cent of the national budget. If you also look at your own personal budget, you will discover that the percentage of your budget that is going to education is certainly more than 50 per cent.

“So if the nation is spending 26 per cent to have a knowledge-based economy, I think it is not too much. It should even be higher than that considering the contributions and multiplier effect that a well developed knowledge driven economy will have on the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), job creation, crime reduction and the standard of living of the citizens,” Prof Adewumi said.

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