By Michael Mubangizi
Janet Museveni hails UCU for producing quality graduates and shunning strikes
UCU Vice Chancellor asks government to exempt not-for-profit universities from VAT and Income Tax
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni has commended Uganda Christian University (UCU) for producing quality graduates and for shunning student and staff strikes.
Delivering her message during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of UCU Kampala Campus, the Minister of State for Higher Education Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo thanked the UCU administration “for the outstanding leadership, the superiority of your graduates and above all for running a strike-free University.”
She added, “I honestly think that Uganda Christian University provides a good model on what it takes to mitigate strikes that have bedeviled some of our Universities.”
On his part, UCU Vice Chancellor Rev. Canon. Dr. John Senyonyi asked government to offer tax exemptions to not-for-profit universities to ease their operations. He singled out Value Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax saying they increase the cost of investments in the education sector. “We pay other taxes and we are comfortable with it but these two taxes are hurting us.” He for instance revealed that during the construction of UCU’s Hamu Mukasa Library, the University paid about USD 600,000 (about Shs 2.1 billions) in taxes, “yet a library isn’t a profit making venture, it is an investment aimed at providing an ideal learning environment to our students.”
The Hamu Mukasa Library sits 1,200 people, stores 250,000 volumes of books and 200 computers in the open terrace. Muyingo promised to forward the Vice Chancellor’s request to government.
The new UCU Kampala Campus will sit on a two and a half acres of land located at Mengo Musajja Alumbwa Road next to Eagle’s Nest Primary School where the groundbreaking ceremony took place.
Presently, UCU is housed at Lubiri Ring Road opposite the Kabaka’s Palace in Mengo and has an annual student enrolment of about 1,000. The plan is to grow it to about 3,000 students after construction of its permanent home.
Shs 10 billion project
The new Campus will be built in three phases with the first phase involving the main academic building estimated to cost USD 2.7 million (about Shs 10 billion) and is hoped to be completed in one year according to Dr. Senyonyi.
The three-floors building will house all the necessary spaces for a complete campus. These include lecturer rooms, a library, staff offices, computer commons, open ground spaces, group study spaces and a coffee shop.
UCU transitioned into a University in 1997 and has a main campus in Mukono, two constituent colleges in Bishop Barham University College, Kabale and Mbale University College in Mbale. It also has a campus in Kampala and Arua.