Museveni advises labour unions to prioritise wealth creation

FORT PORTAL, May 3, 2024 – President Yoweri Museveni has advised labour unions in the country to prioritise creating avenues for wealth creation before advocating for more jobs from government.

“Jobs come from wealth; you cannot have jobs without wealth. Therefore, when you are talking, you people start with wealth creation. For more jobs, listen to the NRM guidelines where all the rural areas must be involved in the money economy through intensive and extensive agriculture. We need an organic approach to these problems. The problem here is not law but reality.”

Museveni made the remarks on Wednesday during the International Labour Day celebrations held at Mukabura Grounds, Fort Portal City.

The International Labour Day, also known as May Day, is commemorated annually on May 1st to recognise the contributions and achievements of workers worldwide and promote workers’ rights and opportunities.

This year’s celebrations ran under the theme: “Improving Access to Labour Justice, A Prerequisite for Increased Productivity”.

According to Museveni, since 1996, he has been preaching about wealth creation especially through commercial agriculture with the right enterprise selection and if Ugandans religiously followed the message, the challenge of jobs would not be an issue.

“In 1996, Uganda had somehow stabilised and in our manifesto, we mobilised people on what to do to get out of poverty. We advised you on the four-acre model. In the first acre grow coffee, on the second acre grow fruits, then the third acre grow pasture for zero grazing, on another acre grow food crops. Then in the backyard do poultry and piggery for those who are not Muslims. Those near the swamps set up fishponds,” he said.

“If people utilised the arable land of Uganda well to create wealth through agriculture all those children who go out to work for the Arabs would not be going there. Jobs are here,” the President insisted.

President Museveni further cited an example of model farmer, Richard Nyakana of Rwengaju who listened to his message, and he now makes Shs 180 million annually from dairy, poultry farming and value addition on one acre of land, employing 15 people.

He said with this model, he went ahead to advise that in the backyard they do poultry and piggery and those near swamps to set up fish ponds.

Museveni however revealed that due to indiscipline, most Ugandans have continued to practice land fragmentation in.

He also cautioned farmers with limited land to desist from practising extensive agriculture, saying the enterprise can only be profitable if it’s practised on large scale.

“I caution all farmers with limited land to desist from practicing extensive agriculture because the enterprise can only be profitable if its practiced on a large scale,” he added.

Commenting on the tea crisis, Museveni argued that from the start he knew that the crop has issues and that is why he never recommended it among the high value crops.

“In my four-acre model and seven enterprises, I have never talked about tea. I know the problems of tea that is why I never recommended it in my writings. I recommended coffee, fruits, dairy, food crops, and poultry for eggs, piggery and fish farming. That is what I recommended,” he said.

Furthermore, President Museveni noted that government officials and other stakeholders should work at ensuring low cost of electricity, transport, and low cost of money by putting more funds in the Uganda Development Bank [UDB] to lend manufacturers at a low interest rate. He said this will spur economic development in the country.

On the issue of markets which have been heinously taken over by the greedy rich people, President Museveni said they are going to investigate the matter and kick out the culprits from the facilities.

“The markets which we built have been taken over by the parasites and displaced the poor people. We are going to chase those corrupt people who use their powers to frustrate the poor people.”

On her part, the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations, Esther Davinia Anyakun noted that the ministry acknowledges the challenges of unemployment among Ugandans and it has numerous initiatives put in place to deal with the issue.

She highlighted the Generating Growth Opportunities and Productivity for Women Enterprises [GROW] project, the apprenticeship scheme to skill the youth to embark on entrepreneurial journey, labour externalisation among other initiatives.

“The ministry [Gender ministry] has come up with Uganda National Employment Strategy which diagnoses the challenges of the labour force in the country and it will be taken to cabinet for approval”Anyakun said.

The Chairman General of the National Organisation of Trade Unions [UNOTU], Musa Okello called for improved access to labour justice to promote labour productivity and economic growth.

He also appreciated President Museveni for the guaranteed peace and security in the country that has facilitated investment, thus promoting employment.

“Workers of Uganda are really grateful to you and your government for the various favourable labour laws,” he noted.

Okello also lauded President Museveni for the affirmative action that has enabled the special interest groups to compete favourably in the field of work.

The Chairperson of the Federation of Uganda Employers, Eng. Silver Mugisha thanked his fellow employers for creating jobs for Ugandans, a factor that has enabled the latter to sustain and improve their livelihoods.

“Employers play a pivotal role in the socio-economic transformation of our country,” Mugisha said.

Your Excellency, we appreciate you for being a good listener. You always listen to our concerns,” he added.

Eng. Mugisha also thanked President Museveni for setting up the State House Investors Protection Unit and the CEO Forum, saying that the move clearly demonstrates the President’s resolve to fight corruption and accelerate investment in the country.

The event was also attended by the Vice President, Jessica Alupo, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Thomas Tayebwa, the NRM 1st National Vice Chairperson, Al Hajji Moses Kigongo, ministers, Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, among others.

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