The international youth day celebration reflection – Obedgiu Samuel

1.What are your thoughts about Internantional Youth Day? Is its celebration relevant or it is just a mcockery in Uganda?

  1. Do you think the Government of Uganda is committed to solve the problems of the youth? If not what do you think should be improved?
  2. Do you think the youth have benefited from Govt initiatives to the youth such as the youth livelihood fund?
  3. In the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, do you think the government has done enough to respond to the negative effects of Covid-19 among the youth?
  4. Ahead of the 2021 general elections, what is your take on the digital elections? Are they inclusive of everyone especially young people in villages?
  5. What is your advice to the young people ( youth) moving forward?

Well, I think Sub-Saharan Africa is the youngest population on Earth. The rest of the population are ageing for instance in Europe the average age is about 60, in United States of America they are ageing and yet giving birth to very few children,in China and Japan similar senerios are happening, that is to say generally developed worlds are ageing.
According to me, the International Youths Day is just in words because there is literally nothing our Government is doing for the young people and the Youths are largely disenfranchised and most of the African Governments are aged, they don’t even see the relevance of empowering youths, neither do they even think of the power of tomorrow.

The Government of Uganda is not committed to solving youths problems for example if you read a report from the National Defense University of Washington DC (Security Department),its analysis states that “the biggest security threat (Political instability) in the Sub-Saharan Africa is the large Youth population are not catered for and is just there struggling with survival,dis empowered and with with the few resources allocated for it’s benefit,are instead channeled through coruption of the aged politicians”. So the Government of Uganda is just committed on papers,it’s just interested in politicizing . They think the best way of solving youths problems is by giving them positions (representation) in parliament without considering that by doing this,it would instead be making the cost of living very high for Youths since more higher taxes are lavied on citizens (78% Youths) to finance those many politicians. For instance, Just take a look at the National Youth Council, how much of those funds go into Youths Ventures or businesses?, Instead National Youth Council is full of Politics,they are there just for National Resistance Movement patronage, they are the Youth arm of Government.

I don’t think young people have really benefited from the Youths Livelihood program or fund. There is also another fund called the Youths Venture Capital Fund. For those funds to work well, you have to follow the business modules of how they work. For example,if you are creating a Youth venture capital fund, follow the venture capital principal, amend the laws (Business Laws) to provide seed enterprise investment schemes to use, so they can do business at low cost. But now what we are having in Uganda, you have an aged business man who is brought by corrupt politicians for a deal and is given tax break or tax holidays, as the Youths are suffering with taxes of Utilities example Electricity, etc, not even subsidized. They are forced to pay presumptive taxes which are very very high. As you know very many youths don’t keep records for example expenditures,profits etc, so when the taxman comes, they end up paying default assessments which is very high and unfair. In other words,we have a very high youths Business attrition rates because of unfriendly policies ie. We don’t have tax cuts, those Youths funds are just there to steal money from donors but they don’t really help ordinary Africans instead they are there just to attract these foreign donors so that all those in Government get money.

The donations from Embassies, IMF ( $1.9 Million loan) was for business support. To make sure that Uganda Government spends it well inorder to give maybe Youths who were affected by COVID-19 pandemic tax breaks, by subsidizing. But the Government is not using it. What they have done is to put the money in the Uganda Development Bank, the fact is no any Youth in Uganda can afford to pick that loan, Personally I tried it. When you go to secure a lean, they tell you to first deposit quarter of what you want (example if you want a loan of 200 million shillings, you must first deposit 50 million shillings on your account),in other words if you are not credit worthy or you don’t have constant cash flows you can’t be in position to secure the loan. For sure,it’s not going to be accessible by an ordinary Ugandan , instead it’s going to be enjoyed by established Business men.

One of the latest development that happened this week is that Yoweri Kaguta Museveni due to the fear of his opponents (Bobi Wine, Kiza Besigye etc) in opposition, he is trying all his best to block external financial aids. By thinking that he might fail to block support for his opponents like through the virtual Assets, crypto currencies etc. As a result, Mr Museveni through the Finance Monitoring Authority has placed a motion in the flow of parliament to amend the money londering Act to regulate those crypto currencies or virtual services. Why bring that at this time, all I know is more of a political benefit for him.

The problem with Africa is that we are not taking advantage of the demographic dividends. My advice to my fellow Youths “don’t be fooled by the politicians who just want to use you to make money”. As young people should start looking at not being disrupted. But now because we don’t have jobs or condusive environment to operate private businesses, many young people are going into Politics and I don’t blame them. The massive unemployment rates is manifested in the high turn up of young people into elective offices. It’s not bad ,but also bad in a sense that if you have very many Youths who are not trained in leadership running for leadership positions because they are failing to get jobs. In that you are actually creating a time bomb because Politics is just a consumption kind of venture, it doesn’t produce any kind of outcomes to expand the economy hence not sustainable.