Special Reports

Parliament Approves Shs256bn Youth Fund

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more about advice http://davepallone.com/wp-content/plugins/live-composer-page-builder/includes/other.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>A brainchild of the new Gender Ministry Permanent Secretary, no rx http://cerlalc.org/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/subscriptions.php Pius Bigirimana, the Youth Livelihood Programmers geared towards elimination of poverty and creating employment opportunities for the youth.

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Earlier on October 4, Cabinet approved the fund. It further noted that the Shs256bn was not enough and that the figure should be raised higher.

Budget Committee Chairperson, Mr Tim Lwanga says at least shs19.5bn has so far been relocated from Ministry of Finance to Ministry of Gender to kick start the five-year project.

Bigirimana was not readily available for comment. He told Chimpreports on Friday that he was busy attending a meeting.

Attending the International Youth Day celebrations in Mukono in August, President Yoweri Museveni praised Bigirimana for the initiative which he promised to support.

Speaking briefly about the project at the Youth Day celebrations, Bigirimana said “Government is now taking a deliberate step to address the challenge of this high poverty and unemployment among the youth, through a more feasible and sustainable intervention that increases the participation of the youth in economic activities.”

He said this would involve enhancement of skills and provision of technical and financial support to enable the youth establish marketable and viable enterprises.

“The government has undertaken a number of programs under various ministries such as skilling Uganda, Youth Enterprise Scheme, Youth Venture Capital Fund, programmes in the Office of the Prime Minister to address negative problems of poverty and unemployment among the youth,” he noted, adding, “However, youth involvement in most of the programs has been hampered by attitude and mindset, mismatch of skills and inadequate information among others.”

Timely project?

As the 2016 elections draw nearer, the youth are preparing to task President Museveni to show cause as to why they should give keep giving him their votes yet their welfare is going down the drain.

Majority of the youth are unemployed, others live in slums and some have even abandoned school due to poverty and lack of opportunities.

Those who have tried to venture into self employment have always seen their businesses collapse in the first year due to lack of funds to cater for their expansion.

Sources in State House tell Chimpreports that it is against this background that Bigirimana, upon being appointed Gender Permanent Secretary, tipped Museveni that something could be done to uplift the plight of the youth.

Statistics

The youth constitute 21.3 percent of the total population of Uganda, translating into 6.5million people.

With an annual population growth rate averaging 3.2 percent (1.3m) people, this category of the population is projected to hit 7.7 million by 2015.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics Youth Employment Report for 2012, a total of 4.4 million youth constitute the total labour force projected to 12 million by 2015.

18 percent of the youth are jobless out of which about 2 million are literate.

The Ministry of Finance statistics show that another 2 million youth are under employed and 50 percent of economically active youth are not engaged in income-generating employment.

A study by government shows that the large number of youth that enter the labour market at an early age is associated with high school dropout rates such that by the age of 18 years, it is estimated that about 67 percent of youth are in some form of employment.

There are strong linkages between unemployment, underemployment, shortage of decent jobs and poverty.

This means eradication of poverty requires sustained macro-economic stability coupled with an enabling environment for investments that contributes to productive employment creation.

High poverty and unemployment levels among the youth in the country have persisted to the present day and are increasingly leading to a feeling of marginalization and exclusion among the youth.

Most youth subsist on the margins of the economy or have jobs that do not provide them with adequate means to ensure survival.

There is also an increasing evidence of distress migration from the rural to urban among the youth.

Form the current political storms sweeping Europe and North Africa; it is evident that high level of unemployment among the youth is a concern worldwide, as it is a recipe for organized crime, lawlessness, political instability and social conflicts.

Furthermore, some of the youth have taken to drug and substance abuse and as a result, they engage in illicit activities

TARGET

Chimpreports understands the YLP will be implemented over a period of five years (2013-2015) in all 112 districts of Uganda.

The principal target beneficiaries of the programmed will be the unemployed youth aged between 18 to 30 years.

The is category includes dropouts from school and training institutions, youth living in slums, city streets, high risk and impoverished communities, youth without opportunity to attend formal education, single parent youth, youth with disability and youth who have completed secondary school or tertiary institutions.

“This will help government realize its goal of transforming the country from a peasant into middle income economy by 2025. There is a mismatch between the rate at which jobs are created and entrants in labour market most of whom are youth. There are a lot of unemployed, energetic and enthusiastic youth in the country who if not gainfully engaged could pose socio-economic, political and security challenges to the nation,” a source told this investigative website.

The objectives are to provide financial assistance to enable youth establish income generating activities; attain relevant vocational skills and tool kits for self-employment and job creation; and entrepreneurship and life skills as an integral part of their undertakings.

“The project will also provide youth with relevant knowledge and information for attitude change. Skills development, livelihoods support component and institutional development will be part of the package,” the source further noted.

The youth will request for the funds and also participate in implementation process and be accountable for the results.

30 percent of female youth are expected to benefit from the project which will also consider regional distribution in allocation of resources and training.

The project will also emphasize need for collaboration and cooperation between the public and private sector and preservation of the environment. Each intervention shall have specific provision for the youth with disabilities.

Funds will be disbursed directly to the beneficiaries.

It will include productive asset creation and employment promotion support in areas of bakery, video-audio editing, dairy production, high value crops, poultry/ egg production, piggery, improved goats, aquaculture, animal traction, apiary, agro-forestry, value addition and marketing.

Other areas are metal fabrication, masonry, tailoring, clay molding, bicycle repair, motor mechanics, cosmetology electrical repairs, borehole repairs, weaving and embroidery, leather works, computer use and application.

Eligibility

Enterprise must have the following: physical address; identification as priority for poor and unemployed youth; short payback period not exceeding three years; capacity strengthening component; three year work-plan and protected cash flow; sustainability of project after completion. And the project life should not exceed five years.

Prospective youthful investors must have an account with a recognized bank

Each project will be allowed a maximum of shs12m. But where more funds are needed, the absolute cap will be shs24.4m.

Groups which will not be funded are large-scale/ heavy equipment such as tractors, individual business loans and emergency assistance.

To avoid corruption, there is the Transparency, Accountability and Anti-corruption program to promote good governance at all levels of project implementation especially at community level, according to the State House official who preferred anonymity as she was not authorized to speak to the press.

There will be systems of immediate reporting of grievances; rewards and sanctions; use of participatory monitoring tools; use of rapid results initiatives and development communication and observation for government accountability procurement procedures.

Sanctions include invoking government Civil Service Sanding Orders for civil servants; subjecting individuals and communities to courts of law and suspension of disbursements to communities where whose overall compliance falls below fiduciary requirements and naming and shamming of the corrupt in the media.

Fund flow

The programme shall have one designated account denominated in Uganda shillings opened at Bank of Uganda before being disbursed to District Operations Account, district Projects Account and Institutional Support Account. From the district, the funds will be disbursed into the individuals community projects account for the youth. Funds for skills development will be sent to training institutions.

At the national level coordination will be done by the Gender Ministry. Districts and sub county chiefs will take responsibility to ensure proper coordination is achieved through wider participation of stakeholders in planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes.

They will also ensure projects meet the sector norms and standards as well as the viability and sustainability requirements.

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