The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze has rallied Members of Parliament (MPs) sitting on the committee of ICT to advocate for increase of the Innovation Fund from Shs 13bn to Shs 30bn.
Tumwebaze was appearing before the committee to defend the Ministry’s ministerial policy statement for the Financial Year 2019/20.
Tumwebaze told the lawmakers that the Fund has been of much help in promoting and advancing for innovations by the youths.
“I appeal to you colleagues to appreciate that the Fund is very important especially for young startups in the ICT sector and at an agreed moment in time, we shall invite youths that we have helped with the money allocated to us so that they can demonstrate what they have innovated so far,” Tumwebaze said.
Tumwebaze said that this year alone, the Permanent Secretary and the team got 600 applications from startups which have the potential to solve problems through I.T but that only a few could be helped.
The Minister said that the youths in the country have been able to develop Applications that are being used for traffic monitoring, diagnosis, medical care, garbage collection among others.
“How I wish Shs 13bn can become Shs 30bn so that every year we can support 100 plus applications. We would have responded to the talents of our young people who use their brains to create jobs,” Tumwebaze requested.
However, some legislators complained about how the Fund has been used in the past years where almost half of the approved funds have been used for project management and not expended to the beneficiaries.
According to the Ministry’s budget allocations, the Fund has been divided as follows; Shs 6.9bn to Grants to ICT Innovations, Shs 1bn for Construction Hub, Shs 400m to Furniture, Shs 2.8bn to Consultancies- to support Innovators, Shs 1bn for ICT Equipment and Shs 800m to other project management.