Government Rolls Out Shs 53Billion Program for Women in Business

Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda

The Electoral Commission (EC) has sternly warned presidential candidates against announcing results of the electoral exercise slated for February 18.

“We have learnt through the media that some candidates have set up tally centers, look ” the high ranking official said at a press conference in Kampala on Friday afternoon.

“However no one should use these tally centers to announce final results. It’s the role of Uganda Electoral Commission to declare the results, clinic ” said Kiggundu.

“That’s creating a parallel Electoral Commission. You can cause a crisis in the country. Should any candidate violate this provision, the law will take its course,” warned Kiggundu.

He also denied reports that he fears to announce election results in case they favor some candidates. “Who actually examined my heart? I may be small but I have a strong heart. Don’t try to scare me,” said Kiggundu.

He also spoke out on banning telephones and other electronic communication gadgets at the polling stations.

“In almost all elections around the world, within polling stations no cameras or phones are allowed.” He says this is a comprehensive requirement which international observers must adhere to.

On violence, Kiggundu said arrangements are underway to provide security for voters. “We will not accept that nonsense,” said Kiggundu.
Government on Wednesday unveiled a multibillion programme aimed at increasing women’s competitive edge in the business sector.

Unveiling the programme dubbed ‘Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP)’ at the Uganda Media Center in Kampala, case the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said the project will support women in the micro, adiposity small and medium enterprise subsector through provision of interest-free credit, technical advice for appropriate technologies, value addition and market information.

The funds will be accessed by women groups with membership ranging from 10 to 15.

Rugunda said special focus will be placed on Unemployed women and Vulnerable Groups like Single young mothers, Widows and gender based Violence (GBV) survivors, the disabled, Women living with HIV/AIDS, Women heading households, slum dwellers, Women living in hard to reach areas and ethnic minorities.

According to the Premier, the initiative has been formulated based on a number of key statistical indicators but most importantly women comprising the majority (86.2%) of actors in the informal sector.

“Although women comprise 53% of Uganda’s labour force, 42% are taken on as unpaid family workers.  In addition, the male to female wage gap stands at about 39%. This gap in productivity is of meaningful concern both to GDP growth and to the distribution of income between men and women.” He noted.

The Programme, under the stewardship of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, was pledged by President Yoweri Museveni during last year’s International Women’s Day celebrations in Kabale District.

“UWEP is yet another landmark initiative in implementation of the NRM manifesto, which isa social contract the NRM holds with the electorate,” Rugunda noted, adding that in the manifesto, uplifting vulnerable groups including women is key, hence the importance of UWEP.

The State Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations, Dr. Kamanda Bataringaya, observed that the programme has capacity to empower Ugandan women to improve their income levels and their contribution to economic development.

He revealed that target beneficiaries shall be identified and selected through a selection process spearheaded by the District and Sub County Technical Planning Committees.

“The primary target beneficiaries of the Programme are women within the age bracket of 18-65 years. The assumption is that those beyond 65 years will be catered for under the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) Programme.”

“And also, since the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) targets young women aged 18 – 30 years, the female youth already benefiting from YLP will not be considered as beneficiaries for UWEP.” he said.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Pius Bigirimana who was commended for ensuring that the project is put together and commenced said the budget allocation had increased from Shs3 billion this year to Shs53 billion next financial year.

He revealed that with the Shs3 billion, they covered 19 districts and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and beneficiary groups are expected to receive funding before close of the Financial Year. He added that next year the programme will roll out to the entire country. He cautioned against politicizing the programme saying it’s meant to benefit all Ugandan women irrespective of political affiliation, race or colour.

Bigirimana revealed that a watertight project verification and monitoring and evaluation strategy had been developed to guard against misuse and none-refund of funds.



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