President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated the need to put an end to wastage of resources, particularly the money that government spends annually to various groups of people to help enhance their incomes.
Museveni acknowledged yesterday that some of the hundreds of millions dollars that go into wealth creation program, is misused by what he called “financial cannibals.”
“We are putting $200million each year and the financial cannibals are eating it,” Museveni said.
“We keep sending and they eat; we send, they eat.”
Speaking yesterday at the inaugural Africa Now conference in Kampala, Museveni noted nonetheless, that supporting these groups is the only viable solution to youth unemployment.
As such, he said, government will continue adding more funds to these groups of entrepreneurs, noting that some of them use the money well.
The solution to stopping the hemorrhaging of government money, he said, is for various stakeholders such as members of parliament joining in the sensitization efforts, and also taking advice from people who have succeeded in stopping theft, such as Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
“We need to learn from President Magufuli,” Museveni retorted.
“Magufuli has stopped wastage of money in things such as travel abroad. That’s why you hear that he’s able to build the standard gauge railway without borrowing. He’s now going build a new dam without borrowing.”
The Tanzanian leader, nicknamed “the bulldozer,” brought along radical changes to the country after he was elected in 2015.
He introduced ways to save money, waged a war on corruption and eliminated the numerous ghost workers, earning him to an extent international praise.
President Museveni at conference which kicked off yesterday at Speke Resort in Munyonyo, said overall that youth unemployment in Uganda isn’t one of the problems that keep him up at night.
After all, the youths who are unemployed today, he said, could have been dead if it weren’t for essential health programs that government introduced, such as universal immunization.
“We wouldn’t be having this Miss World, Africa here,” Museveni said referring to 23 year old Ms Quiin Abenakyo, one of the panelists at the summit.
“She was born nine years after we introduced universal immunization. Perhaps she wouldn’t be here.”
The President said as long as the youths are alive and have gone to school, getting them to work will not be a big challenge.
“Many of them have gone to school, but they have not studied the right subjects. but they have studied. They may lack the skills to work in some of these places, but they are educated.
“What I have been telling them is that, while you don’t have the skills to work in a factory, we can give you money as a group to start a maize mill. You can easily manage that as you develop more skills,” the president said.
“Therefore I am not panicking about the (unemployed youths). The skills will come, but it is good enough that they are alive and are educated and healthy; and there is a lot of money.
With enough financial support, and discipline on the side of the youths, Museveni said, they will be helped into import substitution.
Ever since government started supporting entrepreneurs, Museveni observed, Uganda has since cut her import bill from $7billion to 5billion.