- Official figures from the World Bank show that the youth unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15-24 years stands at 83 per cent
- This rate is even higher for those who have formal degrees and live in the urban areas across the country, attributable to the disconnection between the degrees achieved and the vocational skills needed for the job that in demand for workers
- Some of the young unemployed people are forced unproductive ventures like gambling, theft, drug abuse and other criminal acts as a result of having nothing to do
By Ronald Orachwun Cox
Nebbi- Ugandans have expressed bitterness at the failure by government to address the unemployment gap and the reluctance to fight corruption in the country.
A 2017 Uwezo/Twaweza baseline survey shows that 78 per cent of Ugandans feel that the government is not doing enough at creating jobs for Ugandans. While 79 per cent of citizens feel that the government is not having the zeal to fight corruption, a vice that has continued to strangle the economy and social services.
The Sauti za wanaichi survey carried out between September and October 2017 sampled 2,000 correspondents across the country, who unanimously agreed that government should be at the forefront at creating employment opportunities for its citizens.
In his recent letter to the citizens, President Yoweri Museveni decried the rate at which unemployment has continued to ravage especially the Ugandan youthful population which currently stands at 77 per cent below 30 years, making Uganda have the world’s youngest population.
During the recent graduation ceremony of the first cohort of the “Skilling the Girl Child Initiative” President Museveni scoffed at critics of the high unemployment rate among the youth in Uganda, saying this is not a problem but rather to the advantage of government.
He says that his critics are misguided and need to appreciate the steps made by his National Resistance Movement NRM government, adding that the education sector has seen the rise of literacy rate increase from 43 per cent in 1986 to 70 per cent currently despite the employment dilemma in the country.
“These youth are not a problem but an asset. The purchasing power of Uganda is growing. If our youth are helped to produce goods, the Ugandans will buy them; or they will be bought in the region; or, if the quality is assured, those goods will go to external markets.”
He said that with the necessary support such as training, the youth can engage in food processing, knitting, carpentry, maize milling among others while those with high skills can get involved in ventures like Kira Motors (car manufacturing) using the government provided Innovation Fund.
However players in the education sector in Nebbi district have blasted government for deliberately neglecting the youth in the country.
Mr Moses Okwonga the executive director African Youth Forum Against Poverty (AYFAP) says a number of youths are languishing and sitting idle along major roads in the central business district without anything to do.
“From the onset, someone can just know that government is not willing to get the youth out of poverty. We have so many old and tired people in cabinet. The youth are not getting enough that they deserve. I’m telling you government has money to address this challenge but priorities are being given to issues that benefit some few people in government. This is sad,” Mr Okwonga said.
Speaking to West Nile Press Online, Mr Herbert Oryekwun, a youth in Nebbbi town said he graduated with a diploma in Civil engineering three years ago but has no work.
“Today’s employment market is filled with people who are either friends, relatives, or in laws. If you don’t have anyone in the system, prepare to suffer like me, Oryekwun said.