Several journalists, including The New Vision editor-in-chief, Barbara Kaija, have been awarded medals in recognition for their outstanding service and loyalty to the country.
By Raymond Baguma
SUNDAY VISION - Several journalists, including The New Vision editor-in-chief, Barbara Kaija, have been awarded medals in recognition for their outstanding service and loyalty to the country.
This was at the Labour Day celebrations where President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni rejected calls for setting a minimum wage, saying the Government is focussing on lowering the cost of doing business and supporting industries to grow and employ more people.
Speaking at the national Labour Day celebrations at St. Peters College Tororo sports ground, President Museveni said it was not realistic to set a minimum wage at the moment.
President Museveni (2nd right) with recipients of the 50th Anniversary Independence Medal . Third left is New Vision Editor-in-Chief Barbara Kaija and left in the back row is Joshua Kato, the New Vision editor in charge of Harvest Money, a weekly magazine dedicated to farming. Several journalists were awarded medals for their service to to the country.
During the celebrations on Wednesday, over 160 personalities were awarded national medals for their contribution to the development of the country. They included journalists, Members of Parliament, trade union leaders, members of the armed forces, religious leaders and public servants.
160 awarded medals
A total of 11 journalists were among those who received the 50th Anniversary Independence Medals.
Joshua Kato, The New Vision contributing editor in charge of “Harvest Money” also received an award. Other journalists recognised were: Drake Ssekeba, Cosmas Walugaba, Justus Tindyebwa, William Rujuta, James Kiggundu, Tony Owana, Hassan Badru Zziwa, James Kalebbo and Ssemwanga Lutaaya.
Kaija dedicated the award to Vision Group, saying the recognition has been made possible because of teamwork.
“I thank Vision Group team for the great work that makes us shine and serve our beloved country. I am humbled and full of gratitude to receive the National Jubilee Award,” she said.
“I feel challenged and re-energised to work harder and to serve my country and my God with utmost dedication. I thank Robert Kabushenga, our chief executive officer, for the great motivational leadership that gives us the ability to be innovative and produce our best,” Kaija added.
The editor-in-chief said: “I am grateful to God for President Yoweri Museveni, who has created an environment that has enabled Ugandans the peace to practise professionally.
Tribute to family and God
“I am eternally grateful to my husband, Patrick Kaija, our children, my parents and whole family for being very supportive in spite of my hectic schedule and the challenging demands of my job. Finally and most significant, I return all the glory to Jesus Christ my Saviour, Lord and Friend, for He alone deserves the glory and the honour,” she added.
Kabushenga in his remarks said: “Barbara, you have brought honour and respect to us all. You have given young people a reason to aspire, to dream, to accomplish. Those of us who have daughters now have another inspiration by which to encourage them. Thank you for the power of example. May God reward you abundantly.”
Museveni on minimum wage
Earlier President Museveni has rejected calls for setting a minimum wage. He said he has directed for the establishment of a secretariat in the Ministry of Gender and Labour and his office will follow up many industries to be supported for expansion.
Museveni said the focus at the moment should be on lowering production costs to stimulate development through having energy and power efficiency, good roads, a railway system and having a skilled labour force.
He said that roads, rail, electricity and skilled labour are key factors in reducing the cost of doing business in Uganda.
The theme of the celebrations was; “Skilling Uganda for increased labour productivity; a shared responsibility.” The event was attended by thousands of celebrants amidst a heavy downpour that drenched the UPDF army, the Police, prisons, company workers and school children on parade.
President Museveni said the UPDF brought peace but it is the responsibility of the politicians and other stake holders to fight corruption.
Tororo back on its feet
He added that he was glad to see so many industries coming up in Tororo, and he called on Tororo Cement limited to establish another plant in Moroto.
The President said arrangements are in the pipeline to utilise the abundant limestone resources in Karamoja sub-region for the production of more cement.
“Despite the sluggish pace in decision making, the economy is growing very fast’’ the President observed.
Responding to calls for minimum pay by trade union leaders, Museveni explained that if the country wants labour to get better pay, it needs to address the issue of infrastructure and a skilled labour force to serve in a vibrant industrial sector. He called on the wananchi (people) to be vigilant in the fight against corruption.
President Museveni proposed that the Government supports, with loans, the people to secure employment abroad and ensure that the beneficiaries pay back as soon as they earn an income.
He was pleased to note that the inflation rate has declined to 3.4% in spite of the various challenges in the economy.
Museveni revealed that a factory to manufacture fertilisers would soon be built in Tororo and that it will boost the district’s economy.
Medal winners hailed
He congratulated the people who were awarded the 50th independence anniversary awards and the Kagera medals. He further commended them for their outstanding service and loyalty to the country.
Museveni said the heavy downpour was a blessing, especially for the soldiers because they are meant to fight during the rainy and dry season.
John Nasasira, the Minister of Labour, thanked the workers for the contribution they have made towards the development of Uganda. He revealed that the Ministry of Labour will soon establish a national labour production centre.
Among the guests at the occassion was the Kwar Adhola, the cultural leader of the Jopadhola.
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Over 160 get national awards at Labour Day fete