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Under employment in low productivity jobs a challenge in Uganda’s employment sector

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NEW VISION 19 MAR 2020

According to the world bank’s Macro Economist Dino Merotto’s report on ‘jobs strategy for inclusive growth’, people getting skills and not getting into jobs that have a high value for their academic achievement is the major challenge in the jobs creation paradigm in Uganda.

“Underemployment in low productivity jobs remains a challenge although more people who join the employment industry find work”, Dino says.

The World Bank’s country manager Anthony Thompson said during the release of the port at Golf Course Hotel on Tuesday that facilitating trade across the entire value chain be in agriculture, services, and infrastructure sectors could solve the challenge.

Thompson added that although agriculture remains the biggest employer of Uganda’s youth with a percentage of about 72, the move out of subsistence agriculture activities and non-value wage work is still slow especially for the youth.

He added that the share of value added in agriculture fell from 33 to 26 percent, with industry increasing from 16 to 20 percent and services from 51 to 54 percent.

According to The World Bank Report, Uganda faces a labour demand and not a labour supply problem.

Creating more micro enterprises on the premise that the millions of youth entering the labour market should be job creators and not job seekers, the report says is flawed strategy that would make conditions worse unless demand increases faster.

According to Dino, wage employment is not increasingly sufficiently fast to provide better job opportunities. Access to paid employment increase between 1992 and 2016, but relatively slowly by 9 percentage points over 24 years.

The slow transition he said is typical of several other low-income Sub-Saharan countries in Africa where increases in services largely represent self-employment in the informal sector.

According to Ricky Rappa, Founder of safe Boda job seekers get stuck and keep working just because they cannot afford to if they continue to get jobs that are not commensurate with their level of education.

The government needs to involve the entrepreneurs and innovators who understand the problems and challenges of at a lower level so that the right policies and regulation are directed towards the right solutions.

Pamela Mbabazi, Chairperson National planning Authority said the Job and Skills mismatch is one of the key issues the National Development Plan III has to address. The major challenge the nation faces she said is implementation.

Mbabazi added that there is a need for a conducive environment for trade as well as aligning the education system to holistically tackle the issue of skills gap in the employment sector adding that emphasis should be put more on supporting SMEs to formalize in order to increase employment.

The World Bank recommends creation of more waged jobs, expanding net exports and encouraging trade integration, managing urbanization and accelerating the transformation of Uganda’s agriculture among others to foster the jobs strategy for inclusive growth.

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