President Museveni has said that it is important for government to create an environment where creativity and innovation can thrive and that individuals or groups are protected and rewarded for their creativity.
The President was this Wednesday speaking during the launch of the National Intellectual Property Policy and the Security Interest in Movable Property Registry (SIMPO) held under the theme “Creating unlimited possibilities for innovation and credit access,” at a ceremony held at State House, Entebbe.
“The improvement in the quality of human life and man’s transition from a primitive existence to modernity are attributed to the discoveries in medicine, engineering, architecture etc. It is through the creations of the human mind that we have been able to tame nature throughout the four and a half million years of man’s existence on earth. Therefore, it is crucial that individuals or groups are rewarded for their innovations,” he said.
The National Intellectual Property Policy’s objective is to stimulate and nurture innovation and creativity for socioeconomic development.
The policy will also facilitate the integration of Intellectual Property into national priority sectors and programs towards the realization of national development goals while SIMPO replaced the manual Chattels Securities Registry whose attendant legal framework responds to the pressing needs of the youth, women and SMEs who cannot access affordable credit due to lack of land, which is the preferred collateral for financial institutions
The President, however, emphasized that one cannot talk about Intellectual Property Rights without addressing the issue of funding for scientists who are behind most of the innovations, which benefit everyone.
“Today, the whole world is waiting for scientists to develop a Coronavirus vaccine and cure. Ugandan scientists are also working day and night to come up with a vaccine and cure to this deadly disease. Without the work of the scientists, the whole world is doomed. This explains why we should invest highly in the innovations of our scientists. They are our lifesavers when faced with natural calamities such as: diseases, floods, drought, pests etc,” he said.
The President commended the Uganda Registration Services Bureau for the policy which he described as a step in the right direction saying it will give innovators full protection of their patents.
Suffering of musicians
“Musicians suffer a lot, that is why many are running into politics. The problem has been that these talented people compose a song but as soon as it is sang, its’ taken over by different groups including promoters. These musicians were not able to gain from their innovation,” he said.
He said the NRM government will continue to support and protect all innovations and urged the police to get involved in fighting this theft.
“Civil servants, political leaders and the technical people should not allow these gaps to be there. It is not good to betray our people,” he said and directed the Registration Bureau to engage in sensitization of the masses on the issue.
The President warned against stagnation of some of the government departments citing the PPDA that have no global outlook.
“There is stagnation in some of our systems. There is PPDA which is always busy buying posho and beans. Recently, we gave money to scientists to buy equipment for vaccines, the PPDA said the government will not pay unless you have delivered everything here. How do the manufactures get their commitment fee? As an example, one of our planes here cost US$95million, how can they manufacture a plane and deliver it without payment? Public service needs to wake up, be informed, consult and have a global outlook,” he said.
On the Security Interest in Movable Property Registry System, the President said this will enable Ugandans to use their moveable assets as collateral to borrow money for their businesses from financial institutions.
“To most lenders, collateral means having land or a building; but if I have a thousand herd of cattle, each valued at 1 million Uganda shillings, why would you refuse to finance my investment? The Ministry of Finance should wake up the banking sector. For entrepreneurship, agriculture and industrialization to thrive in Uganda, Government will continue to address the issue of high lending rates amongst financial providers.
The Registrar General, Twebaze Bemanya said the IP Policy will provide direction and interventions that will enable stakeholders to waork towards creating, protecting and commercially exploiting innovations and creative works.
Twebaze said SIMPO which was rolled out in September 2019 has already recorded over 4,000 registrations with the most commonly used assets to secure loans being motor vehicles and motorcycles (boda bodas).
These account for most of the property owned and pledged by borrowers including MSMEs.
The meeting was also addressed via link by the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia who is also the chair- council of ministers of the African Regional Intellectual property Organisation Prof. Wilson Tarpeh and the Minister of Justice and constitutional Affairs Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu.