Dar es Salaam. The government move to increase its budget to fund innovations from Sh1 billion in the current financial year to Sh5.5 billion in 2022/23 is a crucial step towards stimulating economic growth through technology, experts say.
According to experts, innovation is understood in a broad sense as a central aspect of all economic activity, and it is just as important in low-income countries as in the most advanced nations.
Indeed, they told The Citizen yesterday that research revealed that innovation was the main force driving increases in productivity and long-term economic growth.
On Wednesday, in a press conference in Dodoma, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Eliamani Sedoyeka noted that in the budget for the 2022/23 financial year the government has allocated Sh5.5 billion for supporting innovators.
He added that the government has already identified 200 innovators whose projects have performed well in the National Science, Technology and Innovation Competition (Makisatu) in the past years where a total of Sh2.3 billion has been spent in supporting such innovations.
Innovation Week is upon us.
Our Managing Editor MpokiThoms was a panelist at a forerunner symposium to usher in # InnovationWeek2022 organized by undptz. Topic: Role of media in promoting Tanzania’s innovation space. The Citizen is dedicated to giving a platform to innovators. pic.twitter.com/1y62r0v40Y
– TheCitizenTz (@TheCitizenTz) May 7, 2022
This year’s exhibition, May 15 to May 20, is run under the theme: ‘Innovation for Sustainable Development’.
Prof Sedoyeka noted that the government has also been allocating and using the funds with the aim of creating an enabling environment for creating and developing innovations and empowering individual institutions or architects so that their innovations can enter the market and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“The contribution of technology and innovation is very important in simplifying our lives and increasing productivity,” he noted.
According to Dr Omary Osman, an education expert, in an increasingly interdependent and competitive world economy, innovation becomes a necessary condition for catching-up and upgrading in global value chains, since it translates into making better and more efficient products. “Contrary to the view that new technologies destroy jobs, innovation may be a critical driver of job creation by diversifying the economy towards new activities, often leading to quality jobs with higher wages and better work conditions,” he said.
He said the budget increase for the creative sector is a great incentive for Tanzanian innovators but is also a good way to embrace technology as one of the drivers of the current economy in developed and developing countries.
“I commend the government for this significant step because if we want our economy to grow faster, technology must be valued and innovators (technology users) can do their job with the support of the government as well,” he said.
Dr Thomas Jabir, an education consultant based in Dar es Salaam, said budget increase was crucial because more and more young people were starting to think of self-employment, thus causing their talents to emerge and start creating new things using technology.
“This step is important as the current economy needs innovators. Budget increases are going to revolutionize innovation and thus bring productivity to Tanzania’s economic growth, “he said.
Dr Amos Nungu, general manager, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) said innovators who will benefit from the funding are those with projects that address social challenges and stimulate the economy. “The biggest challenge has been the presence of projects or ideas that don’t attract the market or solve the challenges facing society although in some cases they have done so elsewhere. We need ideas that local companies will be interested in for investment, ”he said.