Ubos to hold census next year, MPs query job rates

Wednesday February 24 2021
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An enumerator (left) records data of a family during the 2014 population census in Kampala. PHOTO/FILE

By Damali Mukhaye

 Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday tasked Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) to conduct accurate research to reflect the actual unemployment situation in the country.

According to the MPs on the finance committee where Ubos officials were presenting their annual performance report yesterday, the unemployment rates being released by the government agency does not reflect the actual reality on ground.

A number of MPs including Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North), Henry Musasizi (Rubanda East),  and Charles Illukor (Kumi County) accused Ubos officials of producing “unsatisfactory” data on unemployment.

“I have always had a problem with the statistics from rural areas. We believe this is where the biggest population of our people stay and the biggest economic activities also take place, but the statistics that come out regarding unemployment and agriculture are wanting. To me, unemployment seems to be far from the truth and I want to understand the tools they use to get these figures,” Ms Bbumba said.

Mr Musasizi said: “When you look at the statistics and what is happening on ground as far as unemployment is concerned, they do not match.” 

According to the current figures released by Ubos in the 2017/2018 Financial Year, unemployment rate stands at 9.2 per cent (nationally) while youth unemployment stands at 13 per cent.

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The executive director of Ubos, Mr Chris Mukiza, attributed the discrepancies to the international standards they use to arrive at the unemployment rates. He said this has prompted Ubos to redesign its own parameters to define unemployment.

“There are two issues here which we have been discussing on international standards.
 When you look at the international measure of who is unemployed, it is actually astonishing. The International Labour Organisation describes a person who is deemed unemployed to be only that person that is not working and is searching for employment. So if you are at your father’s home eating food and not looking for a job, you are not regarded as unemployed,” Mr Muzika said.

He said although the last census was done in 2014, they have decided to have the next census next year to update data that will be used in implementing the National Development Plan III.

According to Ubos, the 2022 national census will be carried out between August and September. Mr Mukiza said the census will come two years earlier to enable Ubos revert to the original schedule for population censuses. 

The 2014 census was supposed to have been held in 2012, but was delayed by two years.  In January 2019, the request by Ubos for funds to start activities for the census was rejected by Parliament on grounds that the change in timeline would confuse the public.

Mr Mukiza said Ubos is grappling with shortage of up to Shs41.07 billion, which includes Shs6.40b for staff wages, Shs2.70b for purchase of motor vehicles to replace the old fleet, and Shs1b for manpower of surveys.

COST OF CENSUS

Mr Mukiza said Ubos needs Shs138.6 billion to conduct a national population and housing census in 2022, two years earlier than 2024 when the survey is supposed to be done. The last census was done in 2014. It is done after every 10 years.

dmukhaye@ug.nationmedia.com

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