Speaker suggests tax waivers for youth innovators

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The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has pledged to engage stakeholders in Government, to facilitate the growth of youth innovations in Uganda.

The Speaker made the commitment while meeting young entrepreneurs at their Ntinda based Innovation Village that brings together entrepreneurial ventures, many of which are startups.

Kadaga noted that Government had allocated Shs500m in the 2017/2018 financial year but that it wasn’t enough to achieve the required impact.

She made reference to China where research and development takes a big part of the budget, as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where most of the innovations implemented were by youths.

She said youth innovators also needed to benefit from the same amenities that major investors in the country did, for example tax waivers for startup equipment.

“I am going to arrange a meeting for you with the minister for Science, Technology and Innovation so that you can deliberate on a potential way forward,” the Speaker assured the enthusiastic youth innovators.

Japheth Kawanguzi, the founder of the two-year old Innovation Village hub that self-started at US$150,000, had now grown to a net worth of US$10m going by the over 2,000 entrepreneurial ventures housed under it.

He and other tech CEOs who met the Speaker focused their request on the availability of a government framework and policies to enable young innovators in the country thrive, besides the monetary support.

“We missed out on US$ 6m grant because we didn’t have an MOU with any government agency,” lamented Japheth.

The Innovation Village brings together creative tech-entrepreneurs in health, agribusiness, education and e-commerce among others.