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Elioda Tumwesigye delivers excellent speech as Industrial Skills Training and Production Centre opens in Namanve

Uganda Industrial Research Institute’s Industrial Skills Training and Production Centre at Kampala Industrial Business Park (KIBP), Namanve has been opened in Namanve Industrial Park.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has praised the government of China for their support in setting up the centre.

“I thank the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Ugandan team led by Prof. Charles Kwesiga. The Uganda Industrial Research Institute has an equipped and ready operationalization home in Namanve Industrial Area. With this new home, the dream towards industrialization, import substitution, export promotion, technical Skilling of our youth to fill gaps in the job market, comes even closer,” M7 said.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye thanked the President for intervening to get funding for the skills Centre. Below is the Minister’s full speech at the commissioning ceremony.

Your Excellency, The President of the Republic of Uganda, it is an honour for me to receive you and thank you for gracing this landmark occasion as we commission Uganda Industrial Research Institute’s Industrial Skills Training and Production Centre at Kampala Industrial Business Park (KIBP), Namanve.

This facility is the first of its kind in Eastern Africa and I take this opportunity on behalf of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to thank you for your effort and personal intervention towards securing the funding required to establish this Centre.
Your Excellency, when the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was created in 2016, it inherited Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) as an affiliated institution. UIRI was previously domiciled under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC). The rationale behind the transfer of UIRI from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) to my Ministry was better alignment with NDP-STI sector objectives which include:
(i) Enhancing the integration of Science, Technology and Innovation into the national development process;
(ii) Increasing transfer and adaptation of technologies; and
(iii) Enhancing Research and Development in Uganda.

Your Excellency after creating this Ministry in 2016 and appointing me its first Cabinet Minister, you guided me on priorities my Ministry should focus on in your letter of 24th March 2017 thus:
1. Concentrate on supporting innovations that had been started and enable them get off the ground including the banana project, Kiira Motors etc.
2. Focus on and help through Innovation Fund replications/technology transfers that Your Excellency see whenever you go for national functions of Ugandans struggling to produce a few items like shoes, wines, knitted sweaters etc. You said that this copying of knowledge should be operationalized, as these are things that can change our economy from being agricultural to industrial based.
3. Look into establishing a Space Agency and Institutes in Mineral Research, Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Science.
Your Excellency also in that letter, you directed me to strengthen Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) to fulfill its mandate. “Priority should be given to support UIRI to acquire machines that can enable Scientists build other machines. This will enhance operationalization of many of the innovations that are lying dormant. If this is done, they could make maize mills, food mixers and motor vehicle spares. The country spends about USD 23 million on importation of motor vehicle spares and USD 18 million on importation of spares for motor cycles”.
Today’s Commissioning of this facility is a clear testimony that my Ministry has delivered on this, Your Excellency’s directive. I wish to assure you the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is committed to supporting UIRI scale-up its industrial development initiatives and projects through an enabling policy environment and supportive supervison. I fully appreciate the urgent need to develop a wide range of modern industrial skills that can foster accelerated and sustainable industrialization, in keeping with the aspirations of our third National Development Plan (NDP III) which aims to “increase household incomes and improve quality of life” through “sustainable industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation”. This project is also crucial from the perspective of contributing to our country’s capacity to tap into the many opportunities the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has to offer.
Your Excellency, as you are aware my Ministry and the wider Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Sector have an essential role to play towards the achievement of many of the aspirations articulated in Uganda Vision 2040. I expect the products and services provided to Ugandans by this Centre to be components of the main engines for accelerated industrial development and the associated socioeconomic transformation. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will therefore, continue to work hard towards supporting UIRI fully operationalize this Centre.
We shall strengthen intra-sectoral inter-agency collaboration and holizontal linkages between UIRI, Kiira Motors, Uganda National Council for Science & Technology (UNCST) and the Banana Industrial Research & Development Center (BIRDC) as well as with various innovators to ensure that we fully unlock and exploit the full potential and utility of this facility. We shall seek collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports to enhance academia-industry cooperation and facilitate translation of research and development outputs at Universities and other tertiary Institutions into commercialized outcomes using this facility as appropriate. We shall work with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives as well as the Private Sector to let manufacturers and other players know of and utilize the capabilities of this facility. We shall also further strengthen our collaboration with the Ministry of Defence to build a synergistic relationship between this facility and those under that ministry especially under NEC.

Sir, you may recall the genesis of this project dates back to 2012 and at that time, the vision was to establish a number of Centres that integrate industrial skills development with production in various parts of the country. It was your prudent advice then that this novel approach should be tried out through the establishment of this maiden Centre. I remain hopeful of seeing UIRI establish regional Centres in the future based on the same model as originally envisaged.
Your Excellency, in order to ensure that this Centre and other efforts within the STI sector are sustainable to a degree that measurably impacts our society, my ministry is in advanced stages of developing an all-inclusive National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (NSTIP). A complementary STI Sector Development Plan (SDP) has been developed and as with the draft policy, the role of UIRI in the development of the STI sector is well articulated. This includes the need for hands-on and requisite specialized “4th Industrial Revolution” skills especially for our many young people that this Centre will address.
As we commission this facility, allow me to express my Ministry’s sincere appreciation to the Government and Citizens of the People”s Republic of China for the generous donation of this Centre to the people of Uganda and more so for the high quality work put into its construction as well as State – of the –Art machinery that has been installed. I also thank them for other significant support given to my Ministry on other projects. I look forward to this collaboration continuing to grow from strength to strength for mutual benefit of our people.
In a special way I commend Prof. Charles Kwesiga, Executive Director, UIRI and his technical team led by Dr. Dick Kamugasha, Deputy Executive Director, UIRI for diligently attending to the foundational and project implementation technical work required to deliver such a high quality project in record time.
Your Excellency Sir, I recall the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister breaking ground here on your behalf to start construction works on 25th January 2018. This translates to completion of this project in less than 2 years. In this regard I thank Jiangsu Jiangdu Construction Group (the General Contractor appointed by the Chinese Government to construct and equip this Centre) and Hunan Architectural Design Institute Limited Company (the firm appointed by the Chinese Government to supervise works) for a job well done.
Your Excellency, I note that this Centre represents a new frontier that has been opened in the area of technological capability and innovation. The facilities installed here are laying the foundations for indigenous technology development, reverse engineering (copy and apply) and ultimately advanced machine building, all of which are essential prerequisites for 21st Century industrialization and for socio-economic transformation of Africa.
Allow me Your Excellency to use this opportunity to let you know that a few weeks ago on 13th Dec 2019 at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, I was elected to chair the Ministers of Education and Science & Technology in the 55 Member States of the African Union as a strong recognition by my peers hardly 3 years since your creation of the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation in Uganda. I also thank you so much for your unparalleled and visionary leadership that has not only ensured peace and stability in a geo-politically volatile region of our planet but also made Uganda the fulcrum for Pan Africanism. It’s because of such achievements that enable humble and simple people like me to be elected to high level Continental or Global positions. We hope to use such positions and with your support Your Excellency to ensure that we create condusive conditions to nurture talent, support creativity and innovation of our young people, create jobs and generate wealth on our continent to prevent Africans from dying in the Sahara Desert or being buried in the Mediterranean Sea grave yard or becoming victims of modern-day slavery on foreign lands.
In the First Speech at the foundation summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, 24th May 1963, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana said: “We shall accumulate machinery and establish steel works, iron foundries and factories; we shall link the various states of our continent with communications; we shall astound the world with our hydroelectric power; we shall drain marshes and swamps; clear infested areas; feed the undernourished, and rid our people of parasites and disease. It is within the possibility of science and technology to make even the Sahara bloom into a vast field with verdant vegetation for agricultural and industrial developments”. Today’s function of accumulating modern machinery here is part of Kwame Nkrumah’s Vision.
Finally, the success registered here notwithstanding there remains two major challenges to full operationalization of this Centre. The first is the need to secure funding for the recruitment of requisite staff, training operations, procurement of production and training inputs, utilities, maintenance, services, additional machinery and equipment etc. The second is the need to fund the establishment of state-of-the-art foundry to complement machining and fabrication processes, leading to comprehensive technology development and machine building capabilities.
I thank Hon Matiya Kasaija, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for his relentless support to this project since its inception including writing a letter on March 31st, 2015 to H.E Mr. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce People’s Republic of China which played a pivotal and catalytic role in kick-starting this project. Special thanks go to Hon Evelyne Anite, the Minister of State responsible for Investments for not only being present at both the 25th Jan 2018 ground breaking and today’s Commissioning ceremonies but also for pro-active support in the entire journey of this project including even in the arrangements for this function. I have confidence therefore that the Ministry of Finance will positively consider providing the required funding to not only overcome the two challenges mentioned above but also to support the expansion and growth of this and allied initiatives so that we are able to deliver quality products and services for the benefit of the people of Uganda. FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY..

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