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TETFund: Buhari Approves N8.5bn For Medical Research



TETFund: Buhari Approves N8.5bn For Meedical Research

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N8.5 billion for ground-breaking research in Medicine and other areas under the National Research Fund (NRF) scheme.

Bogoro made the disclosure at a three-day workshop for Directors of Research and Development of public universities in Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

“With your support, I made a case to the board of trustees to increase the NRF research grants.

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“Initially we had seed money of N3 billion, which got exhausted and N1 billion was added between 2016 and 2019.

“When I came, I decided to revolutionize it and I said it is not a question of seed money,  let it be annual money and that is why I made a case for N5 billion in 2019 alone, and in 2020 we raised it to N7.5 billion.

“This year,  the  President has approved another N7.5 billion but, guess what, with additional N1 billion that we intend to use for groundbreaking research around medicine even in respect of the COVID-19 challenge,” he said.

Bogoro said part of the plans was to release some amount of money to the Nigerian Medical Research Institute (NMIR) to resuscitate its vaccine production.

He disclosed that a meeting had been scheduled with the Director-General of NMIR, Prof.  Babatunde Salako, alongside professors of Medicine from some universities across the country in that regard.

He urged university dons not to take pleasure in titles but engage in problem-solving research that would change the narrative for the good of the nation.

He further called on research institutes to establish a good working relationships with universities for enhanced research and development, stressing the need for collaboration for better results.

According to him, there is a need for collaboration between universities and research institutes in order to offer assistance where necessary.

Earlier in his remarks, TETFund Director of Research and Development, Dr. Salisu Bakare, said it was important for universities to live up to the mandate of problem-solving.

He reaffirmed the need for Nigeria to transit to a knowledge economy, stressing that the Research and Development Centre of Excellence in TETFund, established for the purpose, would continue to work to achieve its mandate.

Bakare said in a bid to achieve the mandate the fund had established centers of excellence in several universities.

He added that it increased the National Research Fund and constituted a committee that was currently working on a draft bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation.

He urged participating institutions at the workshop to work toward enhancing national development.

National News

INEC Office Set Ablaze In Enugu State



INEC Office Set Ablaze In Enugu State

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reported that election materials were destroyed in Sunday morning’s attack on its Awgu Local Government Area office in Enugu State.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye on Sunday, in Abuja.

Okoye said the attack on the facility was reported by INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu.

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Okoye said the office was set ablaze, resulting in extensive damage to mainly the stores’ section where election materials were kept.

Fortunately, all movable election materials had been evacuated following recent attacks on our offices in the State. There were no casualties during the incident.”

Okoye said the identity or motives of attackers were unknown, while the incident had been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation.

He said the commission appreciated the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu local government neighborhood watch.

He noted that the unfortunate incident was the first, since the last attack on INEC office four months ago in May 2021. 

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Buhari Addresses Banks, Ask For Investment In Housing, Others



Buhari Addresses Banks, Ask For Investment In Housing, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have urged the financial sector to invest more in housing and rural electricity projects for the benefit of Nigerians.

The president and his vice gave the advice on Tuesday, at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, which was held simultaneously in Abuja and Lagos and streamed online from both locations.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, ”Economic recovery inclusion: The role of banking and finance”, they challenged the banking sector to do more for the country, in order to further boost the economy.

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Buhari said that financial institutions must play an important role in the full implementation of the Nigerian digital transformational process, by collaborating with FinTech companies to develop new technologies that would continue to drive the Nigerian economy.

According to him, Nigeria needed financial intermediation, especially in the area of technology, following the effects of COVID-19, and especially that digital transformation had become the watchword for economic survival.

”The federal government is committed to enhancing the growth of the Nigerian economy and will continue to support the banks,” he said.

Osinbajo, on the other hand, stated that the banks needed to invest in housing and electricity projects, as they were not doing much in supporting the federal government’s efforts in those areas.

He observed that it was either the finance sector was shy to invest in housing projects, or it had not found the right housing finance model that would work for it.

”Nigeria does not have a functional mortgage housing system, which is the most reliable source of generating capital for individuals.

”Banks should come up with innovations such as housing financing, by supporting poverty reduction and economic growth. Ubiquitous housing, for example, will create employment and generate demand for related services,” the vice president said.

Osinbajo also called on the banks to join forces with the federal government to address climate change, especially in its efforts to move from fossil fuel-based power sources to renewable energy.

To achieve this, he said, the federal government established an integrated Solar system for the electrification of five million houses, to serve about 25 million Nigerians, under the Economic Sustainability Plan of government.

He disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside N150 billion for the programme, made available through the bank’s initiated programme that was administered by the banks.

”The programme has three core objectives: Expanding energy access to 25 million Nigerians; increasing local content; and creating value chains experience. The programme is designed to supply cheap financing for developers, manufacturers and suppliers of electric components.

”The federal government is providing a subsidy of between 20 to 30 per cent for each successful installation, through the rural electrification agency programme, to further de-risk each transaction and the project has been on in the last two years,” Osinbajo said.

He said that in spite of the federal government efforts, there had been very little uptake from commercial banks to catalyse installations or manufacture for the solar energy project.

Osinbajo, therefore, urged the Bankers’ Committee to redirect its focus in supporting the rural electrification power project, as this would ensure that the country catalyses access to electricity, in the next few months, by creating five million electricity connections that could erase the country’s electricity deficit and create jobs for Nigerians.

The Chairman, Conference Consultative Committee, Herbert Nwigwe, commended both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo for addressing the conference.

Wigwe, who is also the Group MD of Access Bank Plc, also thanked the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefilele, for honouring the invitation to share their views at the conference.

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Osinbajo Warns Country Against Withdrawing Funds On Gas Projects



Osinbajo Warns Country Against Withdrawing Funds On Gas Projects

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says efforts were currently underway to limit the development of gas projects in Africa, violating the principles of equity and justice enshrined in global agreements.

The vice president said much of the global investment in clean energy would need to go into Africa and advised that efforts be made to redirect global capital to the continent.

Osinbajo’ s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the vice president made the submission at a virtual conference under the theme:  ‘Climate, Conflict, and Demography in Africa,’ jointly hosted by the International Crisis Group, the Royal African Society, and Africa Confidential.

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Osinbajo had at different forums, raised the issue of financing of gas projects in developing countries, like Nigeria, advocating for a just transition and more effective engagements towards the target of Net-Zero Emission by 2050.

Because of the role of gas as a bridge fuel, to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, and rapid transit away from firewood-based cooking fuel to natural gas-based cooking yields both environmental and health benefits.

“We continue to be the most adversely impacted by climate change, so much so that public resources that could help modernize the energy mix has to be redirected towards adaptation spending.

“But worse, we are being compelled to make disproportionately huge sacrifices as the wealthier countries continue full speed on defunding gas projects and insisting that gas projects must be defunded as an important component of the drive towards net-zero emissions by 2030.”

On the number of investments required in clean electricity – generation and grid storage infrastructure, Osinbajo said that to get the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, it would cost more than $1.6 trillion dollars per year by 2030, or four times more than what was invested in these sectors in 2020.

“In regions like Africa, installed electricity capacity will need to double by 2030 and increase at least five-fold by 2050.

“Our first obligation will always be to ensure the wellbeing of our people, through access to development services including electricity, healthcare, education, safe jobs, and a safe environment, including access to clean cooking fuels.

“We must prioritize solutions that align with development and climate agendas; this is absolutely important.

“The global climate conversation can only be equitable and inclusive by putting all people in all geographies at the heart of the endeavor to save the planet.

The vice president also spoke on the need to recognize and plan for growing energy demand, as this would be critical for driving growth, jobs, and economy-wide progress, and delivering healthcare and education services.

“Efforts are already underway in my country, Nigeria, and in several countries across the continent, to transition to large shares of clean energy sources to do so,” he said.

In attendance at the virtual event were Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, who represented the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, Chairperson of the Royal African Society, Ms. Arunma Oteh, and Patrick Smith, publisher of Africa Confidential.

The event was moderated by Bola Mosuro, a Nigerian journalist.

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