- 24 Apr 2017 - 4:43pm
Hon. Dr. Tumwesigye Tours Presidential Initiative Projects, Pledges Support
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and Sheema County North MP Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has today 4th April 2017 paid his first courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu. Accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Mr. David O. O. Obong and other Ministry staff, the Minister thanked the Vice Chancellor and his leadership for making the advance preparations to facilitate his visit. Hon. Tumwesigye’s visit is aimed at establishing the status of various projects under the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology, with a view of determining the resources required implement large-scale production of the various enterprises.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor congratulated Hon. Dr. Tumwesigye upon making history as the first Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and thanked him for choosing to make Makerere University one of his first stops. Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu reported that Makerere has been allocated approximately UGX 70bilion since the Presidential Initiative was started, which has greatly facilitated research and innovation.
“The support that we have received from the Presidential Initiative has boosted our research and innovations, which have consequently improved our institutional visibility. Makerere currently ranks third in Africa in terms of research, with the other two institutions coming from South Africa,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor nevertheless noted that Makerere continues to face a lot of challenges; the biggest being inadequate financing, which affects the implementation various academic and administrative programmes. He was however happy to note that the University has established an Endowment Fund as a strategic avenue to attract funding from her alumni and the general public. This, he said would help Makerere University to reduce her overdependence on Government subvention.
Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye in his response commended Makerere for continuing to play a key role in the country’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem. He thanked the President for creating a separate ministry that supports STI at the national level.
“Several Science, Technology and Innovation branches are currently located under different Ministries such as Education, Agriculture, Gender and so many others. My work is to coordinate the National Innovation system and we exist to use the best available tools to influence solutions to issues that affect society such as Food and Nutrition, Health and Poverty” added the Minister.
He congratulated Makerere for utilizing the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering to address food and nutrition challenges, as well as the College of Health Sciences to address the health-related ones. The Minister however stated that the task at hand was to implement the President’s instruction to ensure that Uganda’s imports worth approximately USD 7billion are reduced, by promoting local production.
In order to facilitate this, the Minister shared that the Government through the Innovation Fund will firstly identify and support existing prototypes that are ready to be commercialized and secondly facilitate technology transfer that empowers the youth to produce all kinds of items. Hon. Dr. Tumwesigye identified Makerere’s solar irrigation pump projects as likely beneficiaries of the Government’s programme to promote solar powered irrigation. “We need to prioritize our own initiatives and we intend to have inter-ministerial meetings to fast track these projects,” added the Minister.
The honourable Minister is scheduled to visit various projects in the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). He will thereafter hold discussions with the leadership of the three Colleges as well as project Principal Investigators.
Article by Public Relations Office
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