Yesterday the Head of State, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni delivered the State of the Nation Address to Parliament and the general public at Serena Conference Centre, Kampala.
The State of the Nation address marks the beginning of the new session of Parliament and is delivered in the fulfillment of the Constitutional requirement under article 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic Uganda which states that “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament, deliver to Parliament an address on the state of the nation.”
In his address the President noted that huge numbers of the young people in the country is a very big opportunity for the nation and must therefore be harnessed. Museveni said that the youth, who make up a big part of the population, and are idle due to lack of jobs, can be turned around with “a little bit of training, equipment and operational capital.” He however, discouraged the youth especially those in urban areas to venture into agriculture. “This massive number of young people is a huge force for production. They should go into industry and services. Do not send them to the villages into agriculture,” he said. Citing that even America where many people want to go has only 2% of its population in Agriculture.
He acknowledged that the huge reservoir of the unemployed and property-less youth was a huge opportunity which should be transformed into wealth and job creators. “They are the ones to save us from imports and also generate exports using our huge natural resources and our comparative advantages. “ he said.
The President said that youth in Kalerwe, along Gayaza Road, had complained to him of being arrested for being “idle and disorderly.”
“Arresting them for being idle and disorderly must stop. These youth are idle because they have no jobs,” he said.
The President also mentioned some of the interventions that have been put in place to empower the young people especially the girls in Kampala. “Through my State House Comptroller, I am now supporting 711 young girls to do baking, embroidery, textile weaving, shoe making, knitting, e.t.c .” he said. “Every intake of six months costs Sh486m, including giving them lunch and daily transport of sh 2000 per person. “ he added. The President noted that this intervention will be decentralized to all the divisions of Kampala so that the beneficiaries don’t need to travel long distances.
The President pledged to support the youth who are into production by setting up for them manufacturing sheds at Abayita Ababiri and show rooms for their products in Kampala.
Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world and therefore measures must be put in place so as to turn this huge force into productive work in order to develop the economy and spur growth in the country.