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Osinbajo calls for private sector investment in research to encourage youth innovation

By Linus Aleke, Abuja

The Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, on Thursday, said, there must be robust private sector interventions to further drive world-class, ground-breaking research and cutting-edge innovation in the country’s higher institutions of learning, to engineer innovation in all facet of our national economy.

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The Vice President also revealed that this will be in addition to government funding.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity,
Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande in a statement said the Vice President spoke in pre-recorded keynote remarks at the Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech) N50 Billion Endowment Fund Launch (holding tonight-Thursday September 15, 2022 in Lagos).

He said: “Provided with the right platforms, young Nigerians will always rise to the stature of national and global challenges, while finding solutions to them through innovation and technology. Not only are institutions of higher learning proving ground for our best ideas, the birthplaces of innovation, and ground-breaking research, they are also, to all intents and purposes designed to guide and nurture a society’s pathway into the future. Research and inquiry may lead to revolutionary discovery or lead nowhere. Either way, the process is expensive and can only depend on large sums of patient capital.

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“How do you fund world-class, relevant, cutting-edge higher education sustainably? The question has even greater resonance in Africa where public resources are low and the poverty levels put access to quality education beyond the reach of many”.

Buttressing the need for endowment funding for higher institutions of learning, Prof. Osinbajo said endowments have helped to drive some of the most important global discoveries across different sectors.

According to him, “Yaba College of Technology, is one of the best institutions to use as proof of the concept that we can indeed develop world-class higher institutions for innovation, and research using both private and public-sector finance.”

Addressing the endowment promoters, the VP added that “the N50 billion ambition of this endowment fund mirrors your vision for this great institution and demonstrates your keen awareness of what is truly at stake. And we must approach this with a sense of mission and duty.

“We must augment government’s finest intentions with our individual and collective desire to see us do better, to see Africa do better; to see our children step into global arenas of enormous and unprecedented opportunities. One thing is clear, young Nigerians will always rise to the stature of the challenges the world presents them, and even beyond, if we continue to provide a platform for them to stand on.”

Noting the commitment of the Buhari administration to increase budget allocation to the education sector, the Vice President, referring to the sums allocated, and not percentages of the total budget, stated that, “year on year we increased budget allocation to the sector in a way no government before us had done. We took capital allocation for education up to N35.99bn in 2016 and stretched it further to N56.81bn in 2017. By 2018 we had increased capital budget allocations for the sector to N102.9bn and the trajectory has remained upward. (In 2019, N620 billion was allocated to education, in 2020, N671.07billion was allocated and in 2021, N742.5billion was allocated to education)”.

He said it is unrealistic to rely on public finance alone for higher education, especially in a country the size of Nigeria.

Giving a word of advice on the management of the endowment fund in the future, the VP said “the best skills in investment and management must be recruited. Endowment funds are to be invested wisely with the best professional guidance”.

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