President Museveni Orders URA Not To Tax Innovations 

By Our Reporters

in Kololo

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed that local innovations should not be taxed in a national concerted effort to provide scientific solutions for our domestic challenges .

“Taxing innovations? Whoever taxes them, should go to Luzira. Who is he? Why tax innovations? There’s no logic because even when a product is not a result of innovation, we give tax a holiday of 10 years. Something already well known but you are putting it here in Uganda for the first time, we give you a tax holiday.

Then how can someone tax a baby, when he has not been taxing adults? It is because you have not highlighted it. You bring it up, it will stop, that is why we created a Ministry of Science to specifically bring out these issues,” he said.

The President was addressing an enthusiastic audience at the on going National Science Week at Kololo Independence Grounds.  President Museveni was in the company of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni.

The National Science Week 2023 organized by the Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Secretariat Office of the President led by Minister Dr. Monica Musenero is running under the theme : “Uganda Tusimbudde: Our Science Led journey Towards Socio-Economic Transformation.”

“You know how we work, if we want to do something, we emphasise it ahead of all other things. Recently, we were able to put more than Shs1 Trillion into the Parish Development Model (PDM) program. Some years ago, when we were struggling with the road infrastructure, we were able to inject almost Shs5 Trillion year by year,” the President explained while assuring innovators of government’s financial support .

“So even here, this Shs 500 billion you are talking about is not a lot of money. Instead of mourning and crying, bring the proposal, we shall put the money. We don’t have a problem with this minimum funding you are talking about. The Government seed capital which was our recommendation can be provided through this annual allocation of this money,” he stated.

Museveni asked the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to mobilise the private sector so that they can contribute an additional venture capital to the science sector. He thanked the religious leaders for embracing science and innovations in Uganda.

“I thank the religious people like Bishop Joshua Lwere, for aligning religion with science because this is quite a destruction by those who believe in miracles instead of using what is known. Miracles happen, even me I have seen some miracles, I don’t know where they come from, but I don’t concentrate on them, I concentrate on what I can do. If they happen, then that’s good, that is like a bonus added to whatever I’m struggling with.”

The president saluted the new foreign investors to Uganda and assuredthem of a conducive working environment and ready market for their products.

“In Africa we have moved a bit, we have the internal market of a country like Uganda- 46 million people, then you have the market of East Africa of 300 million people, and we have the market of the whole of Africa- I.5 billion people now. Therefore, the atmosphere is good.”

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaijja noted that the science and technology sector needs a special budget that will help to spur Uganda’s science-led socio- economic transformation. 

“The way I have seen things here and the way they have been moving in, we need to have a special vote for science and technology where we will deposit money and nobody can cut it down or put in more without your consultation and even the Ministry of Finance,” the Minister requested of the President.

Dr. Monica Musenero informed the President that the science, technology and innovation sector is a key driver for economic development. She said the sector accounts for 50 percent of the national economic development and that any nation that does not figure out how to make science work for their economy, struggles to sustainably grow. 

“Since 2021, when you directed the creation of the secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation at the Office of the President and you gave us your vision of championing science led socio-economic transformation, we took this to heart, we took it with both hands and we have been focused so strongly and over the past 18 months, we have focused on interpreting that vision and understanding how science can link to the economy,” Dr. Musenero added. 

“Specifically, you said we are working to attain a transformed society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040 if not earlier.”

Musenero told the President that as the ministry, they have developed strategies, put in place structures and mechanisms to develop human capital which has an aligned culture that will deliver Uganda to science-led socio-economic transformation within the shortest time possible.

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