Increasing our reading on the stupidometer significantly yesterday morning, somebody in the Government has engaged on a plan to pay a “monthly facilitation” to “unemployed youth”. According to The New Vision lead story, titled, ‘Government to Pay Jobless Youth’, the plan, “aims at reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth.”
Enter George Bekunda who is NOT above said numbskull, but is identified as Director of Social Protection in the Gender Ministry, with the comment: “We have finalised the draft plan for the automatic cash transfer scheme as a form of extending social protection to the vulnerable groups.” He obviously does not realise that the vulnerable group here is the group of Uganda shillings that will be allocated to this purpose.
But further on in the story, more is revealed. Apparently, even the Minister of State for Labour, Emmanuel Otaala, made comment on other plans to provide a monthly facilitation for “elderly people who are not catered for under the pension scheme and NSSF” – and all this at a workshop on social protection organized by “Development Research and Training, a local advocacy organisation”. Uganda, the story says, has around 1.4million elderly people, or 4.6% of the population, and 2% of the total labour force of 11million was unemployed in 2005/2006. “However,” the story says, “400,000 enter the labour market every year, of whom only about 113,000 find employment in the formal sector…Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 56% of Ugandans under the age of 18.”
This, for me, is the point at which we should have hope. We need to harness this 56% of Ugandans, as yet untainted (we hope and pray!) by the stupidity of their immediate predecessors. We should address the brain matter of this 56% of Ugandans with top quality education, high level mind prompts and solid, non-governmental role models so that when their time comes they do not come up with hare brained schemes such as UG40, or UG200K.
Government To Pay Jobless Youth?
Shouldn’t the government be offering to top up employed youth’s salaries with Ushs100,000 a month rather than pay the Jobless Ushs200,000 a month? Turn that round on its head and see how many people register with NSSF and URA!