President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has warned public officials against taxing innovations, saying there’s no logic in taxing innovations when Uganda gives tax holidays to products that are not the result of new ideas.
“Why tax innovations? There’s no logic because even when a product is not a result of innovation, the government gives a tax holiday of 10 years for products that are already well known, but if you are bringing it to Uganda for the first time, we give you a tax holiday. So why would someone tax a “baby”, when he has not been taxing adults?
Innovators have not highlighted this. You bring it up, it will stop; that is why we created a Ministry of Science to specifically bring out these issues,” he reassured.
The President made these remarks while officiating at the National Science Week at Kololo Independence Grounds. He was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni.
The National Science Week 2023 serves as a pivotal platform strategically designed to showcase the milestones Uganda has achieved in the domains of science, technology, and innovation on a national scale and on a global stage.
Speaking at the event, the president reassured scientists of the government’s support for promoting innovations, which in turn will help transform the country socially and economically.
“You know how we work; 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,” he said.
“So with science and innovation, this Shs 500 billion you need can be found. The minister should bring up the proposal for discussion, and the government will look for the funds. We don’t have a problem with the minimum funding you are talking about. The government seed capital, which was our recommendation, can be provided through the annual allocation of this money.”
The President further tasked the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations to bring on board the private sector so that they can contribute an additional venture capital to the science sector.
President Museveni commended the religious people for linking God’s work with science and emphasizing science because everything is about this branch of knowledge.
“Who created the wind? Is it the scientists? It is nature, and nature is God. If you believe in God, you must believe in science,” he said.
“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 pledged to offer scholarships to scientists, informing them that they should highlight the most crucial areas of study that the country needs, and then the government will be able to support them.
The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero, informed the President that the science, technology, and innovation sector is a key driver of economic development.
She said it accounts for 50 percent of national economic development and that any nation that does not figure out how to make science work for their economy struggles to sustainably grow.
We are working to attain a transformed society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040, if not earlier, as you have envisioned.”
She also reported to 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.
The event was also attended by the Minister of State for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs, Hon. Kabuye Kyofatogabye, the State House Comptroller, Ms. Jane Barekye, scientists, investors, among others.