Government not silent about youth

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The population of Uganda has almost doubled from about 16.7 million in 1991 to 44.6 million as of September 2018 UN report as compared to 33.6 in 2013. Critical of its reality is the current young population boom into society coupled with the national and global complex challenges.

By Rose Namayanja Nsereko

Since 1986, the National Resistance Movement ushered in a new democratic and constitutional order that has paved way for the country’s growth and development.

The mission of NRM has been to modernise Uganda and reactivate the process of social metamorphosis that was frozen by colonialism and the post independent administration challenges.

This has been emphasised in the National Development Plan under the National Vision which is – A transformed society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years.

The population of Uganda has almost doubled from about 16.7 million in 1991 to 44.6 million as of September 2018 UN report as compared to 33.6 in 2013. Critical of its reality is the current young population boom into society coupled with the national and global complex challenges.

The young people experience some degree of difficulty and uncertainty as they make their transition into adulthood.

Many youth have trained and have got qualifications, but are not gainfully employed. Their potentials are not put to optimum utilisation against Uganda’s economic potentials.

Aware of the above reality, the NRM government is determined to make the youth vibrant and participate in the economic development of Uganda. This manifests through the different programmes and projects geared towards the youth and the heavy investments put in. Among the programmes is the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The Objectives of the programme include:

  • To provide youth with marketable vocational skills and tool kits for self-employment and job creation;

  • To provide financial support to enable the youth establish income generating activities;

  • To provide the youth with entrepreneurship and life skills as an integral part of their livelihoods and

  • To provide youth with relevant knowledge and information for attitudinal change(positive mindset change)

This programme commenced in FY 2013/14 and has over the years benefited 197,728 youth; 46% are females. The funds recovery is also commendable with sh20.105b recovered out of sh30.420b making 66%. The impact of this programme is being felt in all parts of the country. To date over 190,000 direct and 395,000 indirect jobs have been created. Incomes have been enhanced and saving culture created.

The programmes financed are in various sectors such as Agriculture (35%), Trade (29%), services (19%) and industry (5%).

Various vulnerable categories of the youth have also been reached including school drop-out (34.6%), single parents’ youths (11.8%) and youth with disabilities (2.8%).

In the financial year 2013/14, 11,447,997,118 was disbursed and 16,169 projects were financed among which 11,241 were males and 8,966 were female projects.

In 2014/15, sh27,445,818,370 was disbursed and 3,941 projects financed. There were 28,477 males and 23,162 female projects.

During the 2015/16 financial year, sh19,624,977,607 was disbursed and financed 2,705 projects of which 18,190 were male and 15,601 female. In 2016/17, sh26,096,618,019 was released. It financed 3,283 projects among which 20,819 were males and 17,658 female. During 2017/18, sh37,751,483,472 was released and supported 4,486 projects of which 27,850 were male and 23,680 were female. In 2018/19, sh1,583,240,000 was released and 191 projects were financed of which 1,147 are males and 948 are female.

Ever since its introduction, sh123,970,260,586 have been disbursed, 16,169 projects financed, 107,717 males and 90,011 female.

How sectors were supported:

Agriculture received sh43,420,525,754 and it financed 5,860 projects where male were 40,288 and female 32,910, trade received sh36,146,317,022 which financed 5,177 projects. 15,847 males and 13,281males, Services got sh24,467,077,112, it serviced 2,511 projects, 15,847 males and 13,281 females. Industry received sh6,808,337,955 and supported 985 projects where 6,494 were male and 5,346 female. On vocation skills development, 768 projects were supported using 6,295,419,205, where 7,728 were males and 4,546 female. Agro industry received sh4,350,495,680 and supported 535 projects where 3,727 were males and 2,986 female. On agro forest, sh1, 329,251,319 was released and it supported 194 projects where 1,230 were male and 1,052 female.

The programme has also supported different categories of people, for example, school dropout (primary and secondary)-67,693, completed primary 38,346, completed O’level 26,021, single parent youth 23,086, youth with no formal education 14,282, graduates of tertiary institutions 8,608, completed A level 7,239. Youth with disability 5,478 and youth living with HIV Aids 4,891.

The youth Innovation fund is also another stop gap measure to help the youth improve their economic ability. Youth Innovation Fund 2015: Empowers young people to translate ideas into jobs.

 The Uganda Youth Venture capital: In an effort to create jobs for the youth, various measures addressing the demand side and supply side of labour have been implemented. Promotion of entrepreneurship financing and overall self-employment are increasingly considered as viable options by African governments. Indeed, previous research shows that in addition to job creation, entrepreneurship has the potential to improve livelihoods and economic independence of young people (Schoof, 2006). In the recent past, the Government of Uganda (GoU) has also initiated programmes to support youth entrepreneurship. Starting in the 2011/12 national budget, the GoU allocated sh44.5b (about $18m) to youth entrepreneurship programmes. An extra sh3.5b ($1.5m) was allocated in the 2012/13 budget (MoFPED, 2012). The GoU in September 2013 boosted youth schemes by allocating sh265b (about $100m) over a five year period.  The major pillars of this initiative are: enterprise development, job creation and business skills development. The youth schemes in Uganda are based on the premise that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are likely to play a leading role in employment generation given that they comprise about 90% of the private sector ( MoFPED, 2012).

The Government is doing a lot for the youth. The challenge is that whenever you try to solve one problem, it results into another for example, liberalisation of the education sector brought in a challenge. Before independence one would complete when the job is just waiting. But now we have many private institutions producing many youths.

The writer is the treasurer of the National Resistance Movement Party

NewVision.co.ug

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