By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. President Yoweri Museveni has funded and equipped Saccos under the Presidential Initiative in Wakiso and Kampala districts.
The President on Thursday Commissioned user facilities for eight Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (Saccos) in Entebbe and Kampala districts. Some of the commissioned facilities are Katabi Artisan Sacco, Namasuba Furniture Makers Sacco, Najja 1 Furniture and Metal Work Association, Kabuusa Wielders & Traders Sacco among others.
The Saccos have been equipped with machinery for carpentry and joinery, wielding and metal fabrication among others. President Museveni also handed each of the Saccos cheques of different amounts, ranging from Shs30-100million.
The President noted that with such facilities, members especially the youth will acquire skills to add value on whatever they produce and therefore will not cry for lack of jobs anymore.
Mr Museveni said this is part of his campaign against unemployment, especially among the youth.
"This is a campaign I have started to awaken Ugandans so that we don't keep crying for lack of jobs," he said.
President Museveni noted that lack of skills makes Ugandans over depend on imported products, even simple things like chairs which can be made locally.
He revealed that Uganda imports goods worth Shs18 billion annually.
“Ugandans spend over Shs.18,000 billion annually importing all sorts of things and later on cry for jobs yet they are giving away jobs to the people in the countries they are importing from,” he said.
"We even import things like chairs, yet we have the timber here," the president said, adding that with the machinery in place the youth would acquire skills to process some of the raw materials locally and also have jobs.
"I don't want to ever see maize grain being exported to Kenya or South Sudan. I want us to at least export maize flour or maize brand," he emphasized.
The President said exporting goods without value addition denies Ugandans jobs, thus accelerating the unemployment problem.
“When you buy chairs from China, you give money and jobs to the Chinese. We want to stop importing and make all those things from here,” he said.
State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe explained that the idea of the President’s initiative on Saccos started two years ago in Najjera when the youth stoppe d the President and asked him to start income generating projects for them. She revealed that State House has so far spent Shs193million for the machinery given to the Saccos.
Francis Bakayana, the Katabi Artisan Sacco Chairperson commended the President for initiating and supporting the Saccos. He says the machinery provided to the Sacco has given members an opportunity to do on job training, but also earn money.
The President was accompanied by Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine and State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde, and the minister for Kampala Beti Kamya.
Mr Museveni started his tour at Katabi Artisan SCCO went to Namasuba Furniture Makers’ SACCO, Najjanankumbi Furniture and Metal Works Association, Kibuye Furniture Makers SACCO, Nalukolongo Furniture Makers SACCO and concluded with Busega Agali Awamu Furniture Makers SACCO.
Museveni donated a FUSO truck to those SACCOs to help them transport their products and Shs. 50 million shillings.
He also called upon the youth to vote for National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders so that their problems are brought to his attention in the Movement Caucus.
“The problem with Kampala residents is voting leaders that do not help you and only mind about enriching themselves. There is no NRM MP in Kampala. All the MPs of Kampala are just focused on fighting NRM instead of creating job opportunities and skilling the youth,” he said.
The President presented a check of Shs. 50 million to Kibuye Drivers’ and Conductors’ SACCO, Lubiri Lorry Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ SACCO, Busega United Timber and Sellers SACCO and Busega Welders’ SACCO.
Ndeeba Mechanics’ and Traders’ SACCO, Ndeeba Machinery and Woodworks’ SACCO, Kabuusu Mechanics and Lorry Drivers, UMEA SACCO each received Shs.100 million.