Uganda is a free market economy and so, the youth argue that it is quite challenging for them to compete with the investors.
PIC: The Chairperson of the National Youth Council, Lilian Aber. (File photo)
KAMPALA - As Uganda joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Youth day on Sunday, the youth leadership in Uganda is championing for an affirmative action on the procurement process.
With unemployment being one the leading challenges faced by the youth in Uganda, the leaders want at least 30% of all procurement to be reserved for the youth in order to promote their entrepreneurship endeavors.
Uganda, being a free market economy, the youth argue that it is quite challenging for them to compete with the investors but such deliberate policies like the affirmative action in the procurement processes will at least pave way for them thus creating some jobs.
“We have been talking about this and we want government to make a statement on the procurements to be given to the youth.
"There are many young people out there who are capable of engaging in this supplies and other business ventures but they are denied the opportunity, so can we have a policy that at least out of the contracts being given out there 30% is given to the youth,” said Lillian Aber, the Chairperson of the National Youth Council (NYC).
“The same applies to the public service, as we are giving out job opportunities can we also balance the positions in the ministries so that we can at least 30% of the young people also being considered through affirmative action while giving employment opportunities within the public sector,” Aber said.
Aber made these remarks while addressing journalists at the council offices in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb ahead of the youth day celebrations.
The youth demand comes at a time when Government is making efforts to foster the buy Uganda, build Uganda policy (BUBU).
In September 2014, the ministry of trade, industries and cooperatives launched the BUBU policy to among other things, advocate for both the private and public sector to procure goods and services from the local market.
Last year, Patrick Nsamba the Kasanda North Member of Parliament moved a motion and was granted leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Member’s Bill titled “The Local Content Bill, 2017.”
The bill among other things, seeks to provide for the establishment of a national Local Content Committee, maximisation of value-addition and job creation using local expertise; goods and services; the development of local content plans and the supervision, coordination, monitoring and implementation of local content.
Currently Uganda ranks second among countries with the youngest population; 78 percent of Ugandans are below the age of 30 years and it is estimated that 48 percent of the population is below 15 years.
The youth leaders also hit at their representatives in parliament for being docile and not representing the plight of the youth. They accuse the MPs of being mute when controversial bills are being passed, only to react at the aftermath to fool the public.
This is in regard to the recently passed taxes that have so far caused a public uproar since their implementation last month.
The legislators through the Excise Duty (amendment) Bill approved government’s proposal to tax mobile money transactions and social media.
Each person individual now using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp among others is subjected to a daily levy of sh200 in order to access the platforms whereas each mobile money transaction is subjected to a 0.5% excise duty, something the youth leaders claim has really had a toll on the youth.
“My concern is line with the way MPs consider the public, it’s unfortunate that whenever controversial issues are tabled before parliament, the majority of these MPs who make unnecessary noise are the ones who are mute,” said Samuel Odong, the NYC publicity secretary.
“As young people we are the majority we should take a keen look at these MPs who are docile in parliament, who look at policies being passed and remain quiet.
"These should be sorted out in the next election come 2021,” Odong said.
“This includes some of our youth MPs, there are those whom we voted and are mute, we have never seen any of them getting up to seriously oppose an issue especially these that affect young people.
"So we call upon them to wake up and ensure that they defend young people, and majority of MPs in parliament are youth themselves,” he added.