President Yoweri Museveni has called upon the youth to join the local manufacturing industry in the country so as to create job opportunities and improve government revenue collections.
The President was speaking at the Jua Kali (Green Jobs) business start up tool kits and equipment handover ceremony Wednesday held at the Uganda National Museum in Kampala.
He said that when Ugandans import goods from abroad, they give wealth to the people abroad, give their governments more taxes and create more employment opportunities for people in those countries.
Museveni said that Ugandans spend over US$7 billion dollar annually importing different goods yet they can easily be manufactured locally in the country.
“I see people importing chairs from Dubai. United Arab Emirates is a desert and yet they sell furniture to Ugandans who have so many forests. That is lack of ideology,” he said.
He said that although the NRM government has already empowered the youth, they have refused to ‘wear glasses that work properly’ and continued to align with people who are ever peddling lies about the government.
He said that since the NRM government restored peace, the purchasing power of Ugandans has increased but sadly they only buy goods from abroad.
“To show you that NRM has already empowered the youth, you need to check around the supermarkets near you and see the goods coming in from China, India, South Africa and so on,” he said.
Museveni said that although the NRM government has continued to empower people through different funds, such as the Women Fund and Youth Fund, the youth have continued to choose leaders who do not have their interest at heart.
“The youth have always had a problem when it comes to voting. They vote people who have selfish personal interest. Instead of asking for more money to be put in the Youth Fund, when these people get to Parliament, all they ask for is for their salaries to be increased,” he said.
“Uganda is a rich country. The money is there but we need to agree on prioritization; what needs to be done first and what should be done later. If we could agree to increase the funding for the Youth Fund from Shs.50 billion to about Shs.300 billion, we would be very far,” he said.
President Museveni, therefore, cautioned the youth not to waste their time on idle talk such as the ‘tojikwatako’ (proposed amendment of article 102 (b) of the constitution) but to instead focus on job and wealth creation.
“Use you numbers and put your leaders to task to listen to our ideas about the things that can empower you. If we continue importing all those things from abroad, we will be like the lady in the Bible who had a bleeding disorder. All the money will be going out affecting the dollar rate among other things,” he said.
Meddie Bajje, a representative of Jua Kali business, thanked President Museveni and his government for the commitment towards the livelihood of the youth.
He said the support extended to the youth would improve their standards of living.
Lillian Aber, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, said the Jua Kali programme would help to reduce the unemployment numbers in the urban centres around the country.
The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hajjat Janat Mukwaya, said Jua Kali (Green Jobs) would create decent employment, labour productivity enhancement, reduce poverty and ensure environmental sustainability.