By Michael Eboh
The Governing Council of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has approved the establishment of a $50 million Nigerian Content Research & Development Fund (NCR&DF), to boost research and development in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
In a statement in Abuja, the NCDMB stated that the approval for the establishment of the new fund was granted by the Governing Council at their virtual meeting, under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva,
The NCDMB disclosed that the Council approved the deployment of the $50 million Research Fund for sustainable funding of NCDMB’s mandate on Research & Development (R&D), as enshrined in Sections 37 to 39 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010, which empowers NCDMB to superintend over R&D activities in the oil and gas industry.
NCDMB said it was implementing the Research and Development Roadmap to institutionalize a robust R&D ecosystem that would lead to continuous development of technology, materials and process for industry application from indigenous research efforts.
According to the board, the major success pillar was closing systemic weakness of inadequate funding architecture for R&D activities in the oil and gas industry.
It revealed that Nigeria spends about 0.2 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on R&D, indicating a poor commitment to R&D, resulting in over-dependence on foreign technology for critical economic development activities, including oil and gas operations.
It explained that the NCDMB R & D Fund was expected to close this gap, adding that it would be applied in four broad Intervention areas, namely: research (basic and applied), establishment of Centers of Excellence in Academic and Research Institutes,
Sponsorship of commercialization of Research and Sponsorship of endowment of professorial chair.
The NCDMB said the operating model had been designed to ensure transparent and well-focused application of the Fund and it includes a Governance structure to leverage experienced researchers and industry experts in the decision-making process of selecting activities to be funded from the NCDMB R&D Fund.
It explained that the Fund will be domiciled in a Treasury Single Account (TSA) Sub-Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that it would put in place an outcome-focused performance metrics that would measure success in the application of the Fund and form part of the reporting template to the Governing Council on an ongoing basis
Following the Governing Council approval, the NCDMB said the Nigerian Content Research and Development Council (NCRDC) held a meeting recently, and revalidated the identified focus areas for the utilization of the Fund.
It further stated that the council also decided that the Fund would also be deployed in developing and implementing a communication strategy for effective dissemination of NCDMB R&D interventions as part of stakeholder management process.
It said, “The NCRDC also approved the institution of a Performance management strategy to track progress and ensure application of the R&D fund in line with the key performance indicators (KPI) approved by the Governance Council.
“It also approved the list for distribution of the smart gas leak and smoke detector alarm device for field trial. The product which was conceptualised by Amal Technologies is a research prototype sponsored by NCDMB
“The scope of NCDMB’s R&D regulatory role includes development of capabilities for Research and Innovation in Nigeria including facilities, equipment, personnel and processes, review and approve R&D plans of operating companies, monitor implementation of R&D projects to ensure the execution of Nigerian content requirements of domiciliation within Nigerian R&D Centers.
“Other roles include tying R&D spend to addressing industry technology, material, and process challenges and facilitating commercialization of research breakthroughs and Facilitating the deployment of successful products of research in industry Operations.
“To achieve its R&D mandate NCDMB developed the R&D framework anchored on seven (7) policy thrust, including focus on market driven research, establishment of world class Research and Development (R&D) Centers of Excellence, establishment of Research and Development Council and provision of sustainable funding to support Research and Development.
“Other areas of focus include the development of stakeholder collaboration matrix for Research and Development (R&D), provision of enablers for commercialization of research breakthrough and facilitation of acceptance and utilization of products of research by end-users.”