President Yoweri Museveni used the International labour day celebration on Monday to pledge creation of jobs for all Ugandans that this is his major focus than the discussions for the enhancement of welfare and remunerations for the few employed Ugandans.
The President was speaking at Namutumba ceremonial grounds in Namutumba District where national celebrations to mark the International Labour Day were held.
He noted that whereas the welfare and remuneration of the workers are important, the need to create more jobs and do away with unemployment was more of the concern of the government and the country as only a small fraction of 10 million people is employed while the rest of the population is unemployed.
The President asked citizens to support government programs that are focused on job and wealth creation such as the Parish Development Model (PDM) that he said will help generate enough jobs for the entire population.
“If we seriously implement the PDM, we shall generate 70 million jobs in the 7 million homesteads across the country through modern agriculture alone. The colonialist created enough jobs for Ugandans and even imported labor from neighboring countries by introducing cash crops in pre-independence Uganda,” the President noted.
He however noted that there were two major hindrances to the country’s development agenda, singling out the “corrupt political class and civil service” who either demand bribes or delay the decision making process which he said increases the cost of doing business in the country.
He however warned that he was going to take strong action against the corrupt and errant civil servants and politicians. He added that he was to put up a special office in his office where the public could directly report government officials who are either demanding bribes or delaying the decision making process.
“We are going to have a big fight with the corrupt. I don’t want you to fall victim to this negative vice. Let’s join hands and fight corruption and be part of the future of the new Africa,” President Museveni appealed to all Ugandans.
The President added that because of the correct policy decision by the National Resistance Movement such as the returning of the Indian properties, the liberalization of the economy among others, the country managed to attract investors and the economy has managed to jump from USD1.5 billion in 1986 to USD50 billion today notwithstanding the fact that the economy is largely dependent on raw materials and have not done a lot of value addition.
Museveni however said that with value addition, the economy would expand three fold and therefore called upon all Ugandans to support the government efforts to lower the cost of doing business by lowering the cost of money, cost of transport and energy.
On the quest for minimum wage by the labor organization, the President said that there was a need for Uganda to be cautious in implementing the recommended wages by international labour organisations since Africa has structural differences with the Western World.
The President used the occasion to advise the people of Busoga and all Ugandans who have cultivated wetlands to peacefully leave them and promised that the government was to support them to start a new life on the mainland.
The minister for Gender, labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi said that there was a need to improve the ethical behavior and integrity of Uganda’s labour force, noting that unethical conduct and lack of integrity among workers was pushing up the cost of doing business in the country.
Among added that Uganda’s labour competitiveness was the lowest in the region and needed to be improved which she said reflects badly on her productivity.
She however noted that unemployment had gone down and projected it was to go down further as the economy expanded.
Mrs. Achilo Beatrice who spoke on behalf of the workers said that the biggest hindrance to productivity to Uganda’s labour force is a culture of indiscipline and lack of a clear mindset. She said that to better the country’s labour force there is need for mandatory pre-entry induction as well as regular training for all civil servants and those in the private sector.
Achilo emphasized the need by the country to have a minimum and the need to strike a balance between the employees and the employers.
The function was attended by among others the Vice President, Jessica Alupo, the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, several ministers, diplomats and many other government officials.
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