Hon. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga (NRM, Kigulu North) presents the Report of the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation to the House on 23 April 2019

Uganda parliament approved a Report of the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation with a recommendation to reinstate the Innovation Fund.

Shs35 billion as proposed by the Committee, and the recommendations will form part of the plenary report to the Budget Committee.

Presenting the Report of the Committee’s digest of the Ministerial Policy Statement for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Committee Chairperson, Hon. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga (NRM, Kigulu North) said the funds should not serve any other purpose.

“If it is reinstated, the Committee will ensure that the funds are not put to any other use other than commercialisation of innovations,” he said.

The Shs141.2 billion budget seeks to maintain a Shs24 billion allocation to Kiira Motors Corporation, which produced the Kiira EV electric cars, and are planning industrial production.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, said the cars would serve a growing domestic and regional population, saying the cars could convert Uganda into a production power house.

The Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development (PIBID), a project criticised for want of a legal framework that defines its status, is getting Shs5 billion.

The bid, said Tumwesigye, will make Uganda competitive in the wider market for consumers.

“Currently, Uganda competes with China in the production of bananas but when you look at the international movement of bananas, Uganda doesn’t surface,” says Tumwesigye, a problem he says funding the initiative will cure.

This latest report opens the doors for similar ones on ministerial policy statements, which will inform a condensed report to the Budget Committee as it interacts with Committee Chairpersons for every ministry, department or agency.

The Budget Committee will have to carry out the uphill duty to balance the budget requests against the revenue measures.

Government proposed a total of Shs34 trillion budget estimates in the Budget Framework Paper, before revising it to Shs40 trillion.

Next Month, government will table all routine finance bills, with several tax measures expected to be included if the revenue measures are to be realised.

The current financial year saw the implementation of the Excise Duty Amendment Act 2018, which created controversial taxes like that on Mobile Money transactions and the Over The Top (OTT) media services tax of Shs200.

The Public Finance Management Act requires Parliament to pass the National Budget by May 31st.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who was presiding, cautioned Committee Chairpersons against submission of reports beyond the required deadline for onward transmission to the Committee on Budget.

“If a particular Committee does not report by the set date, they will have to find another way of taking their recommendations to the Budget Committee,” he said.

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