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Unemployment still rampant in Uganda – Govt admits

Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja, delivered the National Budget Speech. (PHOTO/File)

By ERIC Emlin OKOTH

KAMPALA – Unemployment is still a major obstacle in the Uganda’s development according to the recent National budget reading.

On Thursday June 13 Hon. Matia Kasaija the Minister for Finance Planning and Economic Development read the 2019/2020 National Budget to the country’s legislature on behalf of the President.

The Minister revealed some shocking details in his annual budget address in regard to unemployment.

“There are now approximately 600,000 entrants into the job market every year, as a result of the universalization of health and education. This has created the need for new jobs to meet this demand. Currently, 4 out of 10 young Ugandans are out of work.

Furthermore, the quality of jobs is of concern. The 2016 labour force survey indicates that 50% of Ugandans work in the Services sector, 35.6% in Agriculture, and 14.4% in Industry.

The informality of the Agriculture and Services sectors implies that about 80% of our labor force is in the informal sector, and therefore not optimally employed. With most Ugandans engaged in the rural economy, it is of paramount importance to increase labour productivity in agriculture and aggressively promote agro-processing which in the end will be the basis for Uganda’s industrialization and further job creation.

Secondly, Income Inequality has widened between rural and urban areas, as wealth has not been created faster in rural communities in comparison to urban areas. This is despite the country’s progress in narrowing regional income inequality, for example, in Northern and Eastern Uganda following Government’s affirmative action programmes.

As a consequence, rural-urban migration has increased with high urbanization rates causing challenges of congestion, housing shortage and population pressure on urban social services. These challenges have compromised the potential of Uganda’s urban areas to serve as engines of growth and structural transformation. World Bank studies estimate traffic congestion is costing Uganda over US$800m in lost National Output. ”

Majority of the country’s labour force is informal which leaves most of those that spent their time studying so hard and later graduated into a jobless market.

The state government has on a number of occasions failed to achieve maximum agro-processing which would as quoted by the Minister be the cornerstone for Uganda’s industrialization and also foster job creation in the country.

The rich keep getting richer and the poor get poorer as the income rift between the rural and urban areas has widened.

This could be a huge stumbling block in the NRM government’s desired achievement of the middle income status in the country.

Citizens should be able to access jobs and many such opportunities in the comfort of their various and distinctive districts or places of residence.

However, efforts to attain such job creation and distribution have failed and the result is more rural – urban migration. People continue to move from villages to urban areas such as Kampala in pursuit of their desired jobs or dreams rather.

As such the ability of our cities to transform into competent engines for urban development have been adversely hampered. Unemployment levels keep on increasing and staring our government confidently in the face!

Economic growth is basically about figures, the amount of goods and services produced in a country without considering the welfare of the population.

On the other hand, what the state should be pushing for is economic development, the quality and quantity of goods and services produced in a country.

Quality here means the welfare of the citizens is key: are they employed? Do they work for appropriate hours? And do they get to enjoy some amount of leisure perhaps! This is what defines Economic development.

Unemployment is at a very high rate. Which is still keeping Uganda as a country from achieving it’s desired levels of development

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