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MPs want more money for research and innovation

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th April 2014 11:34 AM

The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) boss Prof. Charles Kwesiga has appealed to the executive and parliament to allocate his agency a one off additional sh28b to enable it execute its mandate of catalyzing industrialization, value addition and entrepreneurship in the country.

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The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) boss Prof. Charles Kwesiga has appealed to the executive and parliament to allocate his agency a one off additional sh28b to enable it execute its mandate of catalyzing industrialization, value addition and entrepreneurship in the country.

By Moses Mulondo

The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) boss Prof. Charles Kwesiga has appealed to the executive and parliament to allocate his agency a one off additional sh28b to enable it execute its mandate of catalyzing industrialization, value addition and entrepreneurship in the country.


Appearing before the parliament committee on tourism, trade and industry, Kwesiga explained that his institute needs an additional funding of sh28b to fund its infrastructure, manpower and technology requirements.

“That money will enable us set up a robust institution which can fully execute our mandate,” Prof. Kwesiga said.

The institute was allocated sh13b in the 2013/2014 budget and the same amount has been proposed in the budget framework paper for the 2014/2015 financial year.

If their request is granted, it means government will have to give the institute a total of sh41b in the next budget.

“For so many years government has been emphasizing research and innovation but this is not reflected in the national budget allocation. In the 2012/2013 financial year, we did not receive any money for our development budget in the last quarter. This meant we paid our staff to do nothing,” Prof. Kwesiga lamented.

Kampala woman MP Nabillah Nagayi Sempala said, “Whereas there is every justification to give the institute more money, government needs to harmonize the roles of the various agencies which do related work so they can work together. The Uganda Development Corporation and the industrial parks do similar work. There is so much duplication of roles.”

She suggested that government should amalgamate agencies that do related work to minimize resources and create more collaboration in doing government work.

Reacting to Prof. Kwesiga’s concern that there is no collaboration between government agencies with related mandates, the Buliisa woman MP Beatrice Mpairwe said government should undertake measures to sort it out.

Mpairwe also advised UIRI officials to undertake measures for addressing diseases like swine fever which affect the livestock.

The Kyegegwa woman MP Flavia Kabahenda, who also the chairperson of the committee, said, “we shall ensure that the funding gaps are closed so that the lamentation can stop.”

She also promised to liaise with the executive and parliament to ensure there is harmonization of the roles by the various state agencies and stop the rivalry for roles/projects.

The MPs became furious when Prof. Kwesiga informed them that many companies in the country which produce juice products do not use local fruits but import powder from abroad.

Samia-Bugwe County MP John Mulimba said, “Government should wake-up and reign in on these companies. We did some research and established that the juice sold by our major companies is not organic. Instead of using our fruits here, they import powder and hoodwink the country with labels that their juice is extracted from fruits.”

Commenting on Uganda’s funding for research and innovation, Prof. Steven Nyanzi, a senior lecturer in Makerere University’s College of Natural Sciences, said, “Uganda government is not allocating enough money for research and innovation. Since it is collecting trillions in taxes, we should be investing trillions in research and innovation. This will boost the economy and create more jobs.”
 

MPs want more money for research and innovation

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