Thursday June 12 2014

There’s need for government to create more jobs

By Bernard Muhwezi

I liked Nicholas Sengoba’s article about the danger posed by the unemployed young people. It is important to note that this is not only a danger posed by young people but even those in “disguised unemployment”.

It is clear that government efforts at creating jobs thus far have been inadequate. This is evidenced by the multitude of boda boda riders, unemployed university graduates, UPE graduates, etc. Even skilling the youth without creating real and gainful employment for them may just result into more chaos and threaten public law and order, especially when hunger (famine) and lack are also a problem. I think this is like what happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other places in the Arab spring.

Even in the West, in places like Spain and America, similar situations surely do give rise to instability. The Americans had the ‘occupy wall street” movement while the Spanish rioted! Even to date, their monarchy is imperilled and the king has had to abdicate, hoping to placate the masses by giving way for his apparently more popular son. But we are yet to see if that works. Clearly, the demographic threat is real and is a precursor to upheaval.

Just why can’t the government create jobs faster? That is the question that should keep all policy makers and planners busy without relenting. Given that Uganda is projected to have 50million people by 2025 (within about 10 years from now) what does this portend for us?

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the government favours foreign investors as opposed to local ones who are arguably in position to create many more jobs. So why does government not put in place policies that allow potential local investors to move faster like access to lower interest bank loans, easing business registration procedures, tax holidays for business start-ups, etc?

I think the President is currently grappling with this matter and has decided that impoverished and unemployed war veterans pose a bigger immediate threat to him and so he has decided to employ them to replace Naads officials. That is a good move. But then, where will all the unemployed Naads officials now go as well as all the university and UPE graduates? What about the uneducated Ugandans? Let the thinking and planning shift to a higher gear with urgency.
Bernard Muhwezi,