Handouts will not lift Ugandans out of poverty, MP warns

Monday July 8 2019

Handouts. Mr Ocici speaks during the training

Handouts. Mr Ocici speaks during the training in Jinja last week. Handouts, he said, cannot fight poverty. COURTESY PHOTO  

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Kampala. Government must stop giving youth and women groups handouts in the hope of improving livelihoods, the Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru, has said.

Speaking during a one-week Entrepreneurship and Business Development Skills training in Jinja last week, Mr Mwiru said funds must only be given to groups or individuals that have been trained and must be accounted for.

“Creating entrepreneurs and wealth among communities is much more than just giving them money,” he said, noting that entrepreneurship requires critical financial management and mindsets preparation to achieve good results.
Much of Uganda’s population, Mr Mwiru noted, does not contribute to the national purse thus shifting the tax burden to a limited group of people and businesses in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Mpigi and Entebbe.

“We need to engage our people and empower them to understand how to run profitable businesses,” he said.
Mr Charles Ocici, the Enterprise Uganda executive director, challenged government to build a model through which youth can acquire skills to benefit from current opportunities, especially in oil and infrastructure development.
Uganda is currently undertaking an ambitious infrastructure development, which according to experts, forms a good ground from which local content can be boosted.

However, according to Mr Ocici, this will only be possible if government skills Ugandans to tap into the opportunities.
For instance, he noted, a number of countries across the continent such as South Africa, have been pursuing large infrastructure projects yet their citizens have not been prepared to benefit.
“South Africa is a great nation with big factories, roads, airports, hospitals and education but the local people are bitter … because they were never woken up to take advantage of the economy,” he said.

Opportunity

Uganda, is currently at the beginning of an infrastructure revolution. Therefore, according to Mr Ocici, the country has an opportunity to involve the citizens so that they can benefit. However, he says, citizens must be well prepared through training and skills development.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

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