The Ugandan youth, through their moot parliament, have called for special clauses in the Local Content Bill to enable them get employed in various sectors of production so as to earn a living.
The youth want government to fast track the enactment of the Local Content Bill which will ensure that 40 per cent of government contracts go to youths.
They further demand that government enacts and enforces laws that can stop exploitation of Ugandans in the labour industry as well as enact regulations on labour externalisation to avoid exploitation of young migrant workers.
These were among the several resolutions made during the second Youth Moot Parliamentary session held on 09 August 2019. The youth parliament was held ahead of the International Youth Day on 12 August under the theme, ‘Transforming education for responsible citizenship and employment creation’.
The youths resolved that government should fast track the ratification and domestication of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The young people also want government to fast track the legislation on sexual offences.
Geraldine Nakawuki, one of the youth said that they are willing to start up their businesses but are constrained by the absence of an enabling environment.
“When youths run their own business, they are supporting government to address unemployment but we need funds to exist. I am a young business owner with three ventures which have failed,” said Nakawuki.
Francesca Amony called for a review in the management of the Youth Livelihoods Programme, saying that accessing the fund is difficult.
“Youths should be involved right from the onset of the development of such programmes,” said Amony.
Bob Owiny said that the policy on the Universal Primary Education should be revised to increase the teacher-pupil ratio, if the quality of education is to improve.
“Currently, the ceiling is eight teachers to 1,000 pupils. How can pupils receive quality education under such conditions,” Owiny added.
Catherine Nakiyimba was concerned about the continued discrimination of persons with disabilities, saying they have been denied the opportunity to access education.
“There are no friendly facilities for persons with disabilities in schools. They are forced to share toilets with the rest of the students,” said Nakiyimba.
The Chairperson of the National Youth Council, Lillian Aber urded government to focus on developing tertiary institutions which she said will equip students with necessary skills and increase their employability.
“All developing countries are investing in skills-based training. I am a lawyer today but if I cannot get a job immediately and I went through a skills training course, I would have an added skill to start something,” Aber said.
The European Union Deputy Ambassador, Anna Merrifield appealed to African governments to continue improving the quality of public education at all levels while emphasising skills development that are linked to the world of work.
“This is relevant to reach Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 which aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all,” said Merrifield.
She also urged African governments to empower youths to participate in political processes and leadership so as to build transformative societies in the continent.
The Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi pledged to ensure that funds are increased for job enhancement for youth.
“I will find a way to ensure that we can apply for funds from the Commonwealth Secretariat directly. We need to answer the question of jobs for young people,” Nakiwala said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said that she directed the Minister of Education and Sports to present plans for employment for youths before Parliament.
“We also agreed on the need to review the Education White Paper. I am not satisfied with a number of things in the education system. For example, teaching in local languages. It is discriminatory because it disadvantages pupils during national examinations. I hope with this new education terms, we shall equalize opportunities,” Kadaga said.
She blamed government for delaying the process leading to the enactment of the Local Content Bill.
“They are fighting the Bill. It is currently at committee stage and we hope it will come to the House for consideration,” said Kadaga.
This is the second Youth Moot Parliament held ahead of the International Youth Day celebrations. This year’s Youth Parliament session was chaired by Speaker, Winnie Adur and Deputy Speaker, Asuman Ndololo who were elected by the youths. Resolutions made during the plenary sitting will be presented to the Speaker of Parliament for action.