Private universities have asked for a tax holiday from the government, saying they are cash-strapped following the closure of educational institutions due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides asking for a tax holiday, the private universities have also asked for a share from the government research funds it provides to the public universities, saying they are also offering education to Ugandan students, which leads to national development.
Currently, government is only giving research and development funds to public universities.
For instance, in the last budget, the government provided Shs30b for Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (RIF).
Speaking during the 10th High-Level Policy Dialogue Organised by ACODE, CSBAG and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) recently, the Chairman of Vice Chancellors of Public and Private Universities in Uganda, Rev. Canon Dr John Senyonyi, said all private universities are in financial crisis and urgently need government intervention.
He called for the involvement of private universities in research programmes by providing them with research funds.
The strongest resource of higher education is its students with a guarantee of public reproducible knowledge, dynamism, high motivation, sustainability and continuity.
“I wonder what the government think about this, the private universities are teaching Ugandan students, that is why they should be included in research facilities that the government is providing,” he said.
The private universities are running on loans. At UCU, for example, we have written to banks requesting them to consider extending the duration for repaying the loans we have borrowed, he said.
Rev Dr Senyonyi said private universities are faced with the constraints of servicing bank loans and paying taxes.
Investments into research and development in both the private and academic sectors are essential for economic growth and development.
All universities are going online and so the need to change from the fragile methodologies and strengthen our ICT sector so that universities can provide online learning system, he added.
“The private universities are teaching Ugandan students, that is why they should be included in research facilities that the government is providing,” Rev. Canon Dr John Senyonyi, Chairman of Vice Chancellors of Public and Private Universities in Uganda.
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