Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has appealed to government entities as well as the private sector to make deliberate efforts to prioritize Ugandan-made ICT innovations so as to support the local ecosystem.
Dr Rugunda made the appeal Wednesday while officiating at an event to award winners of the second cohort of the National ICT Initiative Support Program (NIISP).
Government through the Ministry of ICT gave a Shs 6bn boost to a total of 60 startups that have created ICT solutions in the sectors of health, education, agriculture among others.
Speaking as the chief guest, the Prime Minister noted that over the years, government has overly relied on foreign ICT products and that this has deprived Ugandan youths jobs.
“I want to encourage government entities and private sector to give the first priority to Ugandan ICT firms. And this should be done whenever acquiring new systems thereby creating jobs for our young people”.
The Prime Minister says Uganda should stop being a net importer of ICT but rather strive to be an exporter of technology.
He urged the innovators who were supported with seed funding to use it for the right purpose. He further urged the innovators in Uganda to place focus on creating solutions that are tailored to addressing the prevailing problems.
This, he said can be done by carrying out research to identify critical problems in business, government and other sectors, but also consulting intended users.
“I also caution Ugandans on the dangers of using ICT irresponsibly. Many users waste a lot of time on social posting and sharing non-developmental materials”.
Rugunda called on institutions of learning to train learners to be creative and analytical right from a tender age, if Uganda is to leap frog and catch up with the rest of the world.
Earlier, the Minister of ICT, Frank Tumwebaze revealed that the Ministry is considering drafting a law that will compel all government institutions to primarily consider Ugandan ICT innovations as opposed to outsourcing these technologies from foreign sources.
“As a sector, we need a law that will implement the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy as far as the ICT sector is concerned,” Minister Tumwebaze said.
“We are proposing to bring a law to Cabinet and also to Parliament that will compel government procuring entities in the field of ICT to give preference to local solutions. Any tender, want an Application or IT solution, before you source from multinationals, first exhaust our ecosystem”.
This is a sure way to encourage more Ugandan innovators to innovate for the market, he said.