Unemployment effects in Uganda

By Hon Agnes Kunihira Abwoli, Female Workers MP.

According to ILO, Unemployment is defined as “A situation where in a particular period a person is available for work, is actively seeking for work (paid or self-employment) but is unable to find an opportunity.”

In Uganda today, the national unemployment rate stands at 9% of the working age population.

According to Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/2017 unemployment is highest in Kampala city (21%) and is lowest in West Nile (3%). Of the unemployment working age population 13% are females as compared to (6%) males. The unemployment rate for youths aged 18-30 stands at 13.3%.

Before we look at the suggested solutions, it’s important to look at the main causes of unemployment in our country. These are;

        An inherited poor colonial education policy: The nation trains job seekers not job creators.

        The bruises of the IMF/SAP’s programs which led to the infamous retrenchments, privatization and sale of government parastatals which were a great source of employment like coffee Marketing Board, Lint Marketing Board, UTC, Uganda Airlines, Produce Marketing Board, UCB just to mention but a few.

        The negative mentality of most youth who go to university and expect to get white color jobs when they leave colleges after studying History, Geography, Literature and Psychology etc, which are not professional courses.

        The poor attitude of our people on vocational and technical training. Most people despise such training.

        The inability by the government to boost farming/Agriculture through mechanization so that many people can benefit from it.

        The inefficiency of some of the Government technical officers (i.e. Agricultural extension officers, Fisheries officers, Veterinary officers among others) to reach the population and guide them in modern methods of farming so that it can benefit many people.

        The inability by the Government to look for markets of some of the produce which result in farmers loosing courage to grow more products, (A case in point is in the recent flooding of maize in the 2018 season where a kilogram went to as low as 200/-)

        High taxation imposed on small scale businesses (SCB) is a very big impediment and impacts badly on people who want to engage in businesses as an occupation.

        The collapse of co-operative societies in Uganda was a very big blow to the Uganda’s economy. Many people used to work in these co-operatives and the farmers were sure and secure about their produce. Besides providing employment, the cooperatives gave advice to farmers and sold them pesticides at subsidized prices.

Suggested Solutions.

        Government should change the Education policy so that it is tilted more on vocational and technical training so that people leave school when they have something to do.

        Government must build more vocational schools especially in rural areas.

        Government should intensify the policy of making science subjects compulsory in schools so that many students can take professional courses in medicine, Agriculture and other ICT related courses.

        The current policy of skilling the youth is ideal and the government must put more funds in it so that many youth can get skills to do certain jobs for example hair dressing and cosmetology, tailoring, bakery and confectionery among others.

        Government should allocate more funds in Agriculture to boost its programmes namely; Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA), NAADS, NARO so that many people get involved in Agriculture as an occupation.

        Governments should solicit for markets of the farmers’ produce and avail funds to buy the surplus of the farmers’ produce, so as to stabilize the market and safeguard farmers from losses.

        Revive Co-operative societies and the Co-operative Bank.

        Build more industries where people can work, this can be done by establishing industries which add value to the Uganda produce so that instead of selling processed goods like coffee, cotton, hides and skins fruits among others, we begin exporting clothes, shoes and other leather goods, instant coffee and juice. Many people will work in these industries and then reduce unemployment.

           Last but not least, Government should consider waiving tax for people involved in small scale businesses as an occupation■

Hon. Agnes Kunihira Abwoli Female Workers MP

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