The President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday, the 23rd September 2020 officially launched the National Intellectual Policy (IP Policy) that was released in May 2019, and the Security Interest in Movable Property Registry System (SIMPO) at the State House, Entebbe. The ceremony was organised by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
In attendance of the launch were the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and stakeholders from the different Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in the intellectual property value chain and the financial services sector, and the private sector.
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) was also represented at the launch by Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, the Chair – Council of Ministers of ARIPO, albeit virtually, who in his speech expressed his impression with Uganda’s progress in the area of intellectual property.
According to a press statement URSB, the objective of the National IP Policy “is to stimulate and nurture innovation and creativity for socioeconomic development” and also “facilitate the integration of (IP) into national priority sectors are programs towards the realization of national development goals”.
SIMPO on the other hand was created by virtue of a new law, the Security Interest in Movable Property Act (SIMP Act) that was passed last year replacing the defunct Chattel Securities Act of 2014. SIMPO also replaces the Chattels Securities Registry and is intended to respond “to the pressing needs of the youth, women and SMEs who cannot access affordable credit due to lack of land”.
Under the long title of the SIMP Act, the law is intended to “provide for the use of movable property as collateral for credit” and according to the URSB statement, the SIMPO registry is in place to facilitate registration of collateral that is not land “which is the preferred collateral for financial institutions”.
Other collateral will therefore be at the disposal of borrowers and lenders as “SIMPO is intended to drive financial inclusion through facilitating access to affordable credits as guided by (the country’s) Vision 2040, the third National Development Plan 2020 – 2015, and the 2016 – 2021 NRM Manifesto.
The president at the launch stated that the government is committed to support all innovations that are aimed at increasing the profitability of Ugandans engaged in various enterprises and emphasised that the national IP policy “will give innovators the full protection of the law through patents, copyrights and trademarks”
He added that SIMPO will be able to “enable Ugandans user their movable assets as collateral to borrow money for their business and financial institutions” why citing the use of a herd of cattle valued at 1 million shillings to use it to secure a credit for investment.
The minister for justice on the other hand said that the ministry was satisfied with the passing of the IP policy that has the power to arm 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” he said. He added that SIMPO would be able to help in the achievement of economic growth by facilitating financial inclusion when it comes to borrowers accessing credit.
URSB Registrar General (RG) 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.