Limited funding is hampering the much needed training of the labour force required in the country’s industrial development, the Executive Director of the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), Prof. Charles Kwesiga, has told legislators.
“We are having a problem of poor facilitation from government which has not enabled us to fully sustain the Institute,” said Prof. Kwesiga, who was meeting MPs on the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation on Monday 22 October 2018.
The MPs were conducting a familirisation tour of the Institute located in Nakawa, Kampala.
Prof. Kwesiga said that the effect of failure to train the labour force is exhibited in the number of small-scale enterprises that have collapsed due to lack of personnel to operate the machinery.
He said there was need to equip students with not only theoretical but also practical skills, which are more necessary if Uganda is to move to an industrial era.
“There have been people who have gone through the incubation system at the Institute but after sometime they gave up on production and stopped reporting because they could not manage the machinery used in production,” he said.
He was however optimistic that the US$30 million Industrial and Training facility under construction by government through the China Corporation would enhance skills and knowledge in computerised machinery to the labour force.
“The facility that government is constructing in Namanve will have computerised machinery and robotics; students will be able to train in all these aspects to ensure a skilled labour force that can work anywhere in the world,” he said.
Hon. Fred Bwino (NRM, Kigulu North) noted that during their tour, the MPs had taken note of factories that have taken a long time at the incubation period. This, he said, prevented other people from getting an opportunity of learning and getting to develop their businesses to take off stage.
He added that the institute needs to have clear guidelines that will enable people to go through the incubation process and also allow others with ideas get an opportunity to go through the same training.
He applauded UIRI for its role in improving the skilled labour force and for developing innovations that have generated into potential industries in Uganda.
“The Institute is training people into the skills that are needed to run industries, hence creation of an employable and skilled labour force,” he said.
He said that the Committee would continue engaging with the institute to see how their funding gap would be covered by government.