Federal Government has provided research funding opportunities to four of its agencies to champion the effort for local production of pharmaceuticals.
The research funds which are provided by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) will assist the agencies to carry out in-depth research that would boost local production of pharmaceuticals.
TetFund Executive Secretary, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed the information on Tuesday during a virtual meeting on Institutionalisation of Research and Development in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sub-sector thematic group, added that the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) will lead in the research exercise.
Prof Bogoro, who did not provide details of the identity and specific research activities the other agencies are expected to undertake, noted that NIPRD will collaborate with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, to carry out research and production of phytomedicine.
‘In a matter of days, maximum one or two weeks, I will be meeting with about four agencies that have been identified. I am happy to mention that NIPRD will lead the mega research thrust in respect of drug development, and I intend to request that they work with one or two organisations,’ he said.
On the institutionalisation of the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF), Prof. Bogoro said the foundation would be subsumed under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) when established, stating that the agency would not be domiciled in a single ministry.
Prof Bogoro expressed the belief that activities of the RDSC are gradually and firmly transforming perceptions about research in the country, adding that various committees were changing peoples opinions about the appropriate direction the country must take going forward.
‘I can’t remember at any time in our country where the issue of institutionalisation of R&D, the triple helix concept, the deepening of research, the emphasis on problem-solving research, rather than status acquiring research, has become the topic in almost every engagement, private and public.
‘That is exactly what it was intended and I took note of the very well placed acknowledgement of all of you, the leadership and members of RDSC and the great patriotic contributions.
‘We should be proud of what we are doing for our nation. May we remain focused. The patriotic resolve of all members has been the secret of the success of RDSC. At a time that COVID-19 ravaged the world, we are turning to the experts, the pharmaceutical scientists that have a significant and central role to play,’ he said.
Chairman of TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee (RDSC), Prof Njidda Gadzama, who delivered the anniversary speech at the meeting, said since its inauguration on September 24, 2020, the committees which comprise 165 members and 13 thematic groups, have produced about 32 different reports.
Gadzama said although the committee’s work was done during very difficult times, under COVID-19, it paid advocacy visits to several appropriate bodies and agencies with visible R&D outputs in Nigeria, adding that such visits have consolidated its thinking that the new paradigm of a knowledge-based economy would enhance the GDP of Nigeria.
‘And judging by the commitment of members and their drive to succeed, coupled with the convener’s dogged determination in ensuring the development of R&D backed knowledge economy for Nigeria, we have gone very far in our assignment. Many milestones have been achieved and about 32 different reports are in the custody of TCT.
‘Therefore, the final report of this committee will indeed, be a formidable national document for reference or instruction and as a guide to Nigeria; as part of progress, it must be noted here that the committee for the legal establishment of national research and development foundation has completed its work. But the convener is however in the best position to report on that,” he said.