The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo has urged the Universities to take up the challenge to use one per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) announced by the government to promote research for the development in the country.
He said the government believed that the African Union’s decision that one per cent of the national GDP must be devoted to research should happen now, because at present the researchers were spending about 0.3 per cent of the GDP for research “which is grossly inadequate”.
The Senior Minister emphasised that the AU was recommending one per cent and the Akuffo-Addo’s government was going to make that (one per cent) up, since the AU was determined that the country must set aside enough money for research.
In that sense the Ministry responsible for Innovation, Science and Technology would be doing the necessary collaborations into issue to ensure that the country could find solutions to its developmental problems, he added.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo said this when he addressed the third congregation of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) on Saturday in Sunyani.
Eight-hundred and seventy-six graduands including 21 post-graduates were awarded with Bachelors, Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees after four years and two years of studies at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels respectively.
The Senior Minister argued that the country had no defence in seeking for external support when “we have all these number of universities to do fundamental research for us”.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo therefore challenged the universities to take up the one per cent GDP for research announced by the government to deliver for the holistic and accelerated development of the country, saying “the one per cent is GH¢2.41 billion which is quite something”.
He stated that Cabinet had decided that the Minister of Education must furnish it with all the specialties of the various universities in relation to their respective core mandates, because they were indispensable entities for the development of the country.
The Senior Minister stressed that the relevance of the universities for national socio-economic progress could not be over-emphasised and added “we must make them come closer to the sectors where we are doing the thinking”.
This, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said was to avoid the formulation and implementation of polices that could be counter-productive; hence they must be part of the discussion process because, “the government policy now was to build a relationship between academia, industry and between government from the policy level”.
He said all these underpinned the rationale of the government’s ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ (GbA) concept, explaining “the GbA is that philosophy which ensures that our resources are used efficiently and effectively, both human and material for the things that we can do for ourselves, so that we would not go begging others to do for us”.
The Senior Minister expressed optimism that Ghana would then in future be “self-sufficient and self-richer from many angles”.
He accordingly lauded UENR for the progress and achievement within a relatively short period of its existence, saying that the future of the University was bright because the GbA in a broader sense was about the country’s development, which was also greatly related to science, technology and natural resources which the institution had established.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo commended the Governing Council, the Management and staff of the University and pledged his support as the Senior Minister to the development of the institution.
Dr. Kofi Koduah Sarpong, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, earlier admonished the graduands to religiously be guided by the values of honesty, humility, hard work, good human relations and humanity in the world of work.
Dr. Sarpong said after years of studies, the degrees, certificates and qualifications become just stepping stones to enable one to achieve his or her vision and goals in life.
But “it is those who exemplified these values who will excel in their personal and professional lives, because they are essential components of successful life and must therefore be cherished by everyone”.