ICT Ministry wants more funds for innovators

Wednesday April 21 2021
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Ms Nabakooba (2L) is shown around the MoTIV Space in Bugolobi, Kampala last week. PHOTO | courtesy

By Justus Lyatuu

The Minister for Information Communication Technology (ICT) Judith Nabakooba, has asked government to inject more money funds into The Innovation Fund Innovators to address innovation challenges. 

“We are asking government after addressing Covid-19 to double the fund. The demand for the funds is very high yet the funds are like a drop in the ocean. We shall convince President Museveni to lobby for us more money from government. We have seen that there is a multiplier effect, jobs have been created but also there are applications that have helped government and private people to conduct business better,” she said during a courtesy call at MoTIV, a makerspace that seeks to establish a sustainable ecosystem for artisans and makers in the creative industry. 
In 2016, President Museveni approved a Shs15b annual fund that sought to encourage innovation, generate highly skilled jobs as well as improve the use of government data for ICT innovation and application development. 

However, the Fund has been overwhelmed and the ICT Ministry last year received up to 1,000 applications for innovation but only managed to handle 60.  
At MoTIV, animators, fashion designers, mechanics, carpenters, artists come together to add value to their products, collaborate with each other and identify opportunities within the local and global markets. 
They also use information technology (IT) to market and earn from their products and services. 

“Our major challenge is access to software. We are using open source software but there is a limitation because the industry standard software is still expensive. The other issue is taxes of computers and that stifles growth. In a year, you can buy two computers but taxes are a problem. We would be able to buy five and impact many more artists,” Mr Raymond Malinga, the Creatures Animation Studio chief executive officer, told Ms Nabakooba during the visit.  
Mitigating challenges        
Government says it is aware of innovation challenges, but it is wooing investors to invest in manufacturing and assembling to cut the cost of importation of tech equipment.