About 10 per cent of Uganda’s working age population is either unemployed or under employed with women emerging as the worst victims, a new report has revealed.
According to the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report released on Thursday, out of the more than 15.5 million national labour force (14-64 years), 269, 000 are jobless and over 1.4 million people are underemployed. “The survey estimated the annual unemployment rate at two per cent. About nine percent of the working persons were underemployed implying that they work less than 40 hours in a week as recommended by the International Labour Organisation,” report reads in part.
The national labour force and child activities report survey 2011/2012 was presented by Mr Andrew Mukulu, the UBOS director of population social statistics directorate, at a labour national conference in Kampala. The survey was supported by International Organisation for Immigration and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The report further indicates that, “three out of every five unemployed persons were women with the urban areas (70 per cent) depicting a higher proportion compared to the rural areas (42 per cent)”.
The number of hours spent by working women in non-economic activities (26 hours per week) was almost four times that spent by men (7 hours).” “Findings further indicate that women outnumber men in both self-employment and individuals working as contributing family workers.
One third of the working population engaged in wage employment was women.” It also reveals that two million out of the 18 million children in Uganda are in child labour. The report defines child labour as work that is mentally, physically, socially and or morally dangerous or harmful to children below 18 years and which interferes with their school attendance.
A child is regarded a labourer if she/he is aged 5-11 years and is at work, aged 12-13 doing heavy work other than “light work” or works beyond 14 hours a week or if aged 14-17 and is involved in hazardous forms of labour or working for an equivalent of 43 hours a week.
The chairperson National Organisation of Trade Unions, Mr Wilson Owere lashed out at government for the worsening unemployment rates. “We need a political will to address these serious issues,” Mr Owere said. He added: “For twenty years, we have not had an industrial court. If a worker is oppressed where do you want him or her to go for redress? To make matters worse there is no minimum wage.”
In response, State Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Mwesigwa Rukutana admitted that government has not done enough to address the workers concerns. “As government we say as long as we provided Ugandans with free university primary education, vocational education, our country will have human resource,” Mr Rukutana said.