By Agaba Nicholus
The Government of Uganda has allocated Innovation and Technology Shs344.33Bn in the 2021-2022 national budget under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I),The Homeland Newspaper reports.
The ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation ST&I is mandated to oversee the overall contribution of the ST&I sector towards attaining key objectives which are focused on mainstreaming Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) in the development process of Uganda.
Following a paradigm shift from sector based planning to programme based planning in the Third National Development Plan (NDP III), MOST&I is the lead implementing institution of the Innovation, Technology Development and Transfer Program (ITDTP).
The ITDTP is intended to increase the application of appropriate technology in the production and service delivery processes across the country through the development of a well-coordinated STEI ecosystem.
All the other NDP III programmes rely on Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation (STEI) to enhance productivity and competitiveness. The application of STEI therefore is critical in the achievement of the NDP III goal of increasing average household incomes and improving the quality of life of Ugandans.
Further, the Budget Strategy for FY 2021/22 emphasizes Government’s commitment towards ensuring that a holistic approach geared towards innovation, which would include brain work/product diversification, technology adaptation, research and development would be undertaken.
This will entail creation of an enabling environment for a concerted effort of all practitioners and stakeholders in the Science, Technology and Innovation ecosystem with MoST&I at the helm.
THE KIRA MOTORS EV BUS IS ONE OF THE INNOVATIONS TO BENEFIT FROM THE FUNDING.
With Shs334bn allocation, the Government through the Innovations, Technology Development and Transfer program will undertake the following:
1. Develop and implement a National Science, Technology and Engineering apprenticeship program for Science and Technology targeting the youth, graduates and informal sector players. Specific focus will particularly be geared towards ensuring that female youth benefit from this program;
2. Finalise guidelines for integration of ST&I in Government Programs spanning across key Program stakeholders (MDAs, Local Government and the private Sector). The guidelines will take into account the involvement of all stakeholders in applying Science, Technology and Innovation for the wider benefit of all Ugandans;
3. Undertake civil works and construction of the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Centre (NSTEIC) and Technology Innovation and Business Incubation Centre in Kiruhura & Mukono district respectively. The site will be accessible to all categories of people including the elderly and disabled;
4. Enhance research and value addition on shea butter and sweet potatoes. This will contribute towards improving the livelihoods of farmers and the rural poor;
5. Construction and equipping of the Sericulture Research and Technology Transfer Centres in Mukono, Sheema and Bukedea;
6. Finalise the detailed designs and commence the construction of the National Automotive Park;
7. Undertake Feasibility studies for the Regional Science and Technology Parks and the Technology and business incubators projects;
8. Support 100 Innovators of all categories to acquire IPRs across the Country;
9. Review the National Research Registration and Clearance Guidelines;
10. Strengthen Innovation and Intellectual Property value Chain Management for publicly funded Innovations and Research.
11. Develop and finalise key policies and guidelines for the enhancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovations in Uganda. These policies and guidelines shall take into consideration all categories of the citizenry. These include; National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Bio economy policy, Silk Industry policy, Technology transfer Policy and indigenous knowledge policy among others;
12. Strengthen support mechanisms to Researchers and Innovators and enhance technology transfer mechanisms, adoption, diffusion and commercialization to support Spin offs and startup technology based enterprises;
13. Consolidate existing collaborations and partnerships for advancement of ST&I with academia, research institutions, private sector, innovators, development partners to establish ST&I skills development programs;
14. Foster Research development of emerging areas of ST&I for example CoVID 19, Nano Technologies, Material Science, Marine Science, Climate Science and Space Science with the aim of solving pressing societal challenges/problems;
15. Conduct awareness and Sensitization amongst stakeholders on ST&I issues and STI exhibitions and events at National, Regional and International levels.
OTHER BUDGET ALLOCATIONS:
Other budgetary allocations specific to science, technology, health, environment, works, and transport and manufacturing are as follows:
Health Sector will take the lion share of Shs7.598Trn, and Transport sector will take Shs5.024Trn.
Agriculture has been allocated Shs1.684Trn, while Energy has been allocated Shs1.150Trn. Water and Environment sector has been allocated Shs668.46Bn, while Sustainable Urbanisation and Housing Shs312.85Bn.
Tourism sector will get Shs178.91Bn, Digital Transformation Shs134.92Bn. Manufacturing Shs54.40Bn, and Mineral Development Shs48.98Bn.