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Uganda on road to science and technology transformation

 

Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation giving accountability of what his ministry has done in the last five years on May 10.

 

NRM MANIFESTO WEEK |  As soon as the Science and Technology ministry was established in June 2016, an Innovation Fund was created.

Since 2016 the ministry’s Innovation Fund has so far received a budgetary allocation of Shs50 billion. Armed with this money each year, the Ministry has been putting a call for innovators to pitch their ideas for possible support.

For instance, over 1000 applicants responded to last year’s call for innovation ideas, Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation revealed at today’s Manifesto Week briefing.

This call to fund, he said, does target new innovations that are ready for commercialization.

MoSTI has facilitated the scientists through the Innovation fund and enabled them improve their product where they produced 1000 pumps that they have been selling to interested Ugandans.

Also, the Ministry has established the processes for collaboration with Universities to establish Regional Science and Technology Parks. Funding for the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation skills enhancement project secured and implementation began

The Ministry has worked closely with stakeholder to define the National Science Technology and Innovation Ecosystem and accomplished the following;

  • Reviewed the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy with Support from UNCTAD and developed the Sector Medium Term Development Plan with Support from USAID Increased application of STI in National programs.
  • Recruited 82% Ministry Staff who have established the critical environment for improving efficiency and effectiveness of Service Delivery
  • In the process of establishing the Governance Boards for Kiira Motors Corporation, Banana Industrial Research and Development Centre as well as rationalizing the functions of Uganda National Council for Science and Technology to enable these Key Institutions to deliver efficiently on their Mandates.

The Ministry in a consultative process developed the National Research and Innovation Program (NRIP) Framework which was approved by Cabinet in March 2019 under Minute 101 CT 2019 with the following accomplishments;

  • In the operationalization of the Program, the Ministry established an eleven – member National Program Steering Committee as the governing body of NRIP.
  • The Ministry has been able to support UIRI, Eshaande, Omuhoko, Oluwoko, makpads, solar pump, tear gas, fresh vacuum sealed banana, wines, AFRISA SPEDA Innovation and Shoe making, as well as cassava value addition projects among many others through the Research and Innovation Fund. These have shown great potential to create jobs, solve pressing societal challenges and contribute to Government’s import substitution efforts.
  • The Ministry is currently in the process of supporting scientists to develop diagnostic test kits, vaccines, medicines & other products to fight COVID-19 & other diseases

The Ministry in a consultative process developed A Cabinet Memo on commercialization of Kiira Electric Vehicle project and a costed Roadmap was approved by Cabinet. Since then the following accomplishments have been made;

    • Construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant commenced on 12th February 2019 and by 30th April 2020, progress stood at 50% of the Start-Up Facilities comprising of 40,000 Square Meter Production Facilities with capacity of twenty-two (22) Vehicles a Day implying 5,000 Vehicles per Year starting with Buses and Trucks; 12km.

  • The construction works undertaken by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces through National Enterprise Corporation are scheduled to be completed in June 2021.
  • Subject to availability of the requisite funds, the Plant shall be commissioned by June 2021.
  • It is also imperative to note that UNBS applied to the International Society for Automotive Engineers for a World Manufacturers Identifier. The application was successful with Uganda being assigned the World Manufacturers Identifier BU paving way for assignment of Vehicle Identification Numbers for Vehicles Assembled in Uganda.
  • The Strategic Government Investment in the Kiira Vehicle Plant is expected to create over 14,000 Jobs directly and indirectly.

The minister revealed that low cost solar power pumps for irrigation developed by a professor at Makerere University are due for commercialization and so far about 1000 have been produced by Prof. Byaruhanga. These are low cost solar powered pumps that will assist farmers in irrigating their crops.

Establishing science and technology parks which will include researchers, industrialists, innovators, financiers and the capital venture entrepreneurs. This is like a Silcon valley of sorts.

 

 

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