Government is to conduct a review to assess the impact of different programmes aimed at poverty alleviation among the youth, a senior government official has said.
According to Dr Francis Wasswa, the principal economist in the Ministry of Finance, a review will help the government assess if different programmes are worth investing in.
“We will need to conduct an evaluation of the programmes to see that the beneficiaries profit from these programmes and this is what Finance Ministry is committed to,” Mr Wasswa said, adding “Government is not doing things by accident but not everything is correct that is why we are doing everything to see that we get value for every shillings spent.”
Dr Wasswa made the remarks while responding to questions at the National Dialogue on employment codenamed, “The state of youth unemployment in Uganda” where youths across the country accused government of neglect and secretively selecting beneficiaries of youth programmes.
The dialogue was organised by National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU) last week.
The youth also accused the government of over taxing local business while giving tax holidays to foreigners, something they said has killed enterprises at infancy, leading to high unemployment in the country.
“These companies come and open businesses here and they are given tax holidays. After their holidays, they write to government that they are making losses. Later, they sell the company to another investor who is also given a tax holiday but youth enterprises are not given holidays,” said participant Simon Karuhanga.
Government has launched different youth programmes in its quest to reduce poverty. These include the Shs45.4b per year Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) 11, which has been running since 2010; Skilling Uganda, which works with private trainers, employers and graduates to encourage skills developments. In the 2012/13 financial year, it received Shs54.17 billion.
Also, in partnership with different banks, government launched the Youth Venture Capital Fund in the financial year 2011/12 to lend money to viable enterprises.
The latest is the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) that was flagged off on January 24 by President Museveni with an allocation of Shs19.25 billion and operating in 27 districts. This fund is premised on providing youth with marketable vocational skills. Its total budget is Shs265billion with an estimated Shs53 billion allocation per year.
So far, according to Mr Ibrahim Kitatta, the National Youth Council finance secretary, 23,000 youth from 27 districts have benefited from YLP.
“We have records of 23,000 young people who have received this money at sub-county level and I can take you there. It is true some youth have not yet been received due to small allocations and we are going to Parliament to lobby for more money,” Mr Kitatta said.
Dr Wasswa, who is barely one year in office, struggled to provide “appropriate” answers to the youth, who said beneficiaries of programmes are not known and that district officials claim Finance is holding the money.
“All the money meant for these programmes was sent to the Ministry of Gender and crucifying me will be wrong,” he said.
Gender and Culture state minister Rukia Nakadama directed Jobs and Career to Youth minister Ronald Kibuule ‘because he monitors the programmes’.
But Mr Kibuule could not be reached for a comment by press time .
The number of permanent non-agricultural wage jobs declined to 6.2 per cent in 2009-2013 and unemployment rate, which was at 4.2 per cent in 2009 rose to 9.4 per cent in 2012/2013.