Govt not to blame for youth unemployment — minister

Esther Mbayo,

The Minister for the Presidency, Esther Mbayo, has blamed the unemployment among Ugandan youth on their poor mindset towards government projects aimed at poverty alleviation.

Mbayo said the Government has over the years introduced several projects to help the youth start income-generating ventures to no avail.

“As the Government, we feel we have done enough to help the youth by injecting a lot of money, but there is little impact because of the way the youth respond to these projects,” Mbayo said.

Addressing a youth group called Youth for Policy at her office in Kampala, Mbayo narrated how a youth group in her constituency sold agricultural inputs and piglets she donated to them to start a farming project.

The Luuka district Woman MP said: “I was giving out similar items to women groups, so these youth approached me asking for my help. But to my surprise, they ended up selling the piglets I gave them and ate the money.”

Mbayo said through different programmes such as the Youth Livelihood Programme and the Youth Capital Venture Fund, the Government has tried to create jobs for the youth, but they have not used the projects to the Government’s satisfaction to fight unemployment.

She urged parents to work with the Government in changing the mindset of the youth towards such ventures, saying it is the only way they can fight unemployment. Youth policy Emmanuel Kitamirike, a public policy analyst and executive director of Uganda Youth Network, implored the Government to consider engaging the youth in policy formulation on issues regarding youth empowerment.

During the meeting, three youth fellows at Youth for Policy shared with Mbayo some of the research work they had carried out on issues affecting the youth. Annet Mbabazi, a fellow at Youth for Policy, shared a paper on how best the Government can establish anti-corruption units among different government institutions.

She also urged the Government to implement the recommendations by the Auditor General, especially where accounting officers are pinned for abuse of public funds.

“The lack of implementation of anti-corruption recommendations by the Auditor General affects service delivery. There is need for the Government to strengthen follow-up mechanisms,” Mbabazi said.

To address youth unemployment, Benjamin Rukwengye, another fellow at the Youth for Policy, asked the Government to support soft skills development among the youth, other than concentrating on technical skills.

Anthony Mula, a private secretary in the office of the Vice-President, commended the youth for their research work and recommendations, especially on the issue of whistleblowing in different government institutions.