President Museveni has said that the government has the capacity to create 70 million jobs if his message of commercialised agriculture is taken seriously.
Museveni made the statements during the commemoration of the International Labors day at State House Entebbe on Saturday.
At the same ceremony, Museveni launched the National Action Plan on the elimination of child labor in Uganda 2021-25.
While castigating the export of labor, Museveni said he is against the practice.
“For me I don’t believe in labor export. Countries that externalize labour are countries that have missed something. I have proof,” he said
“I have never seen South Koreans exporting labor. The only South Korean I have seen is Ban Ki Moon. Their country is half the size of Uganda but you don’t see them. I am now for the South Korean approach.”
As a solution, Museveni said the country has the capacity to employ its citizens up to the tune of 70million, if there is concentration on industry, ICT, services and commercial agriculture.
“We are going to create the jobs; the problem is the reluctance to take our advice which has worked. The jobs are there but they will only come in big numbers if we listen to NRM’s principle of social-economic transformation,” Museveni said.
The president made an estimation of 10 million homesteads in Uganda, saying at least 7million could be in rural areas with access to some land.
“Let us take it that 7 million homesteads have an access to at least an acre because even calculative agriculture can blossom on an acre. I have proof from a man called Nyakana in Fort Portal who is doing wonders on an acre. Problems come when you have no kibalo (calculation).”
“So, if these can be supported to do commercial agriculture and employ at least 10 people each either directly or indirectly, that would be 70million jobs. We would have jobs here to even give other people some. Here in central most of the people who run around as Baganda many of them are Banyarwanda who came because there were jobs here with no one to do them locally during the colonial times because Uganda is so rich.”
The president referred to an address he gave the NRM MPs at Kyankwanzi about changing the society.
“I told the MPs how in 1789 France had four social classes. If you go to France now the peasants are no longer there, they have disappeared. Here we are preserving the peasants.”
Speaking about industrialization, the president said only 30,000 Ugandans were working in factories by 1986.
However, today, an estimated 700,000 Ugandans are employed in the mushrooming industries.
“This proves that when we get more factories, we shall create more jobs and also consolidate the African markets.”
“In the last 43 years since China opened up, it was able to attract a lot of investment because of lower labour costs. There’s no doubt that if you address the issue of minimum wage carelessly, that’s how industries leave,” he added.
Speaking earlier, the Minister for Labor, Gender and Social Development Frank Tumwebaze said plans to address issues in the labor export market are underway.
“We are reforming the labor export market by insisting on certain requirements for labor export companies. For instance, we are insisting on insurance bonds such that should workers get problems while abroad, we can address their problems using that insurance.”
Tumwebaze also said they are investing in training workers and skilling youth to ensure that the country does not export a low-quality workforce that is not at the standard and appealing to international standards.
Uganda exports most of its labour to Middle East countries and to this, over 165000 Ugandans are employed in those countries.
Statistics show that annual remittances from migrant workers in the Middle East alone into the country are about $700 million whereas there are over 200 licenced labour export companies.