ENTEBBE. Government has been advised to reduce on the size of cabinet, the Parliament, number of districts, municipalities, town councils and security agencies to reduce on the growing public expenditure and create jobs for unemployed Ugandans.
Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, an economist and former Makerere university vice chancellor (2012 – 2017) said Wednesday that those employed in cabinet, Parliament and other government agencies are paid a lot of money yet the funds can be set aside for youth venture programmes and enhancing performance of other sectors.
‘’ I advise the government to reduce on size of cabinet, Parliament, number of districts, municipalities, town councils and security agencies. How can a single ministry have five ministers! All these for what?
” said Prof Ddumba while addressing fresh graduates at Nkumba university during the 19th commencement lecture under the theme ‘’Say no to unemployment, become an entrepreneur’’ at Nkumba University.
The lecture was in preparation for the university 21st graduation ceremony due to take place on Saturday 27.
According to Prof Ddumba, many youth are risking their lives by flying to Middle East countries for greener pastures because the ruling
government has failed to create jobs but instead spend a lot of money on big cabinet and irrelevant government agencies.
’’Youth have nothing to do here. However much they are mistreated from there (Middle East), they can’t stop going because the economy has failed to give employment opportunities to its youth but rather spending a lot of money on cabinets,’’ added Prof Ddumba.
Professor John Ddumba Ssentamu planting a tree at Nkumba University on October 24, 2018. Photo by Eve Muganga
However, government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo said government does not adopt policy shifts “or work through hearsays in the media not backed by well-grounded research or basis.”
“The big cabinet and government generally is deliberate to reconcile different groups in the country, it’s not accidental,” he said before adding,
“What record did Ddumba leave in Makerere where he was VC? Has he just noticed that public administration is big and taking a huge chunk of the budget? What relevant training for Uganda job market did he introduce while Dean or VC.”
Like Ddumba, several critics have in the past accused government of mismanaging the economy through big public expenditure.
According to Action Aid (2012), six in every 10 Ugandans are unemployed. Some lack the skills employers need. In other cases, the economy is not expanding as fast as the labour force.
With 31 Cabinet ministers and 49 Ministers of State serving about 42 million citizens, Ugandan cabinet is arguably one of the largest in the world.
Uganda is divided into 127 districts with 450 representatives in the current Parliament.
While embarking on a journey to the Middle East seems a risky affair, many unemployed Ugandans,
especially the youth, are left with a difficult option of choosing between a rock and a hard place.
A number of them now working in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, sold family property to finance their travel to the Middle East.
While the exact number of Ugandans working legally and illegally in the Middle East is not known, unconfirmed reports put the number at about 65,000.
This is 15,000 higher than the number that was working there two years ago, according to the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA).
By Daily Monitor