Over 20 ministers including the vice president and Bukoto Central MP, Edward Ssekandi, the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga woman MP), Rosemary Sseninde (Wakiso Woman MP) and Kasirivu Atwooki (Bugangaizi West County) lost their parliamentary seats in the recent polls.
Unemployment was one of the
major obstacles to many incumbents in the just concluded elections, the
Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister, Matia Kasaija has
revealed. He was officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the first
Public Free Port Zone at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday.
He noted that unemployment has been a key challenge across the country
and that it contributed greatly to the defeat of several incumbents in
parliament. Over 20 ministers including the vice president and Bukoto Central
MP, Edward Ssekandi, the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga
woman MP), Rosemary Sseninde (Wakiso Woman MP) and Kasirivu Atwooki
(Bugangaizi West County) lost their parliamentary seats in the recent polls.
Several incumbents from the ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM such
as Jalia Bintu ( Masindi woman MP), Ernest Kiiza (Masindi municipality) and
Patrick Kasumba (Bujenje) also lost their seats.
The others are Joy Atim Ogom (Lira City Woman MP), Sylvia Akello (Otuke
woman MP), Doreen Amulle (Amolatar woman MP), Beatrice Anywar (Kitgum
Municipality) and Paul Amoru (Dokolo North County) also their seats. Kasaijja
says the biggest challenge for incumbents, particularly in Bunyoro sub
region was high youth unemployment.
Kasaija is voicing the concerns of some of the voters in Bunyoro, who have
asked the newly elected leaders to put more attention on improvement of
health services, agriculture, job creation, fight corruption, land grabbing and
improve education standards among others in the next five years.
These problems, including unemployment, are widespread in the country.
Paul Amoru, the Dokolo North County legislator, who lost his seat, agrees with
Kasaija, saying that apart from propaganda and tribalism, he also faced a lot of pressure from the youth who seem dissatisfied with the poverty
"Government needs a clear
policy on how best to handle this. Because there is no straight answer to it,”
he said. He also although funds have been injected in job creation and income-generating initiative, they haven’t produced the desired results. “Most times
it is taken for political patronage and sometimes the technical people at the
district are not happy. So groups that come up are not genuine. They are just
formed to extract some of these resources and it is misused,” he said.
As a result, Kasaija urges leaders in public and private sectors to prioritize
job creation in the coming years. He
says the best way to create jobs is through industrialization and
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He notes that the ongoing construction of the first free port zone at Entebbe
International Airport is one of the avenues of creating more jobs. The
zone is expected to create at least 240 jobs once it is in operation.
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The free port zone project, overseen by Uganda Free Zone Authority and built by
National Enterprise Corporation-NEC, will cost Shillings 47 billion. Upon
completion, it will host seven production units, a trade house that will house
offices for Uganda Revenue Authority and UFZA among others to facilitate smooth
operations in the zone.
Some of the activities expected to take place in the zone include
warehousing, storage, packing, repacking, simple assembly, labelling of
agro and mineral products. Uganda
exports mainly gold, coffee, dried legumes and fish among others. The
total value of these exports was US$3.6 Billion in 2019 up from US$ 2.2 billion
Kasaija believes that the activities in the free port zone will further boost
Uganda's export volumes because the products will be exported via Entebbe
Airport. According to the Uganda Free Zones
Act, 2014, a free zone is a designated area where goods introduced in that area
are exempt from import duties and taxes. They include export processing
and freeport zones.
A free zone may only, however, "be established at a lake, river
port, airport, border point or a place with similar geographic or economic
advantage". In 2018, Uganda
Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA donated 5 acres to Uganda Free Zone
Authority-UFZA to build a free port zone at the airport.
The UFZA Executive Director, Richard Jabo and Lt. Gen. James Mugira, the
Managing Director National Enterprise Corporation-NEC signed a memorandum of
understanding in July 2020 to build the initial phase of the free port zone at
the airport. In September last year, UFZA handed over the construction site to
the NEC, the commercial arm of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF.
NEC is expected to complete construction of the first phase within six months. Kasaija
has urged the UFZA staff and board of directors, Ubuntu Consulting
Limited, the Supervising consultant and NEC to "ensure the project is
completed in time to enable Ugandan to harness the benefits of this