President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020 launched the National Intellectual Property Policy and the Security Interest in Movable Property Registry System (SIMPO) at State House, Entebbe, Uganda. The delegation to State House was led by the Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and stakeholders from a cross section of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in the intellectual property value chain and the financial services sector. The private sector, as well as Development Partners were also in attendance
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. SIMPO is also intended to drive financial inclusion through facilitating access to affordable credit as guided by Vision 2040, the Third National Development Plan 2020-2025, and the 2016 – 2021 NRM Manifesto
President Museveni underscored the importance of protecting innovations, adding that Government would support all innovations aimed at increasing the profitability of Ugandans engaged in various enterprises adding that the National Intellectual Property Policy will give innovators the full protection of the law through patents, copyrights, trademarks.
President Museveni also said SIMPO would enable Ugandans to use their movable 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 herd of cattle, each valued at 1 million shillings, why would you refuse to finance my investment?’ the President said
In his remarks, the Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu said the ministry was satisfied with the passing of the Intellectual Property Policy that now arms creators with the power to make commercial gain from their works. “We in the ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs recognize that the national Vision 2040 cannot easily be achieved without formulating a National Intellectual Property Policy, a policy that would integrate Intellectual Property into national development plans.” Kamuntu said. The minister added that SIMPO will help in the achievement of economic growth by facilitating financial inclusion when it comes to borrowers accessing credit.
URSB Registrar General Bemanya Twebaze said the policy would create a robust IP value chain that fosters innovation and creativity as pillars for sustainable development. He also added that under SIMPO, limited access to credit was a major challenge to Doing Business in Uganda. “The purpose of the IP policy is to provide direction and interventions that will enable IP stakeholders to work towards creating, protecting and commercially exploiting innovations and creative works” said the RG.
The RG urged lenders to use movable property as collateral to advance capital to the millions of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises. ‘SIMPO encourages lending against movable property such as crops, bicycles, vehicles, intellectual property assets, among others’ Bemanya said
Speaking at the same event, the Chair- Council of Ministers of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh said he was impressed with Uganda’s progress in the area of Intellectual Property.
The official launch of SIMPO and the National Intellectual Property Policy is intended to;
- Increase awareness about SIMPO and the National IP Policy
- Position the SIMPO registry as an option for government to enhance household incomes through facilitating easy access to credit using movable property
- Promote utilization of the IP eco-system that supports creativity and innovation thus enhancing growth of the small scale industries sector.