In a candid address following the inauguration of the Presidential Skilling Industrial Hub for Greater Masaka sub-region at Ndegeya Village in Masaka city on Wednesday, Uganda’s President Museveni openly conveyed his displeasure with those individuals and government officials who persistently undermine the government’s initiatives aimed at transforming Uganda. He sternly pledged to hold them accountable.
President Museveni highlighted the primary challenge as being certain elements within the government, including District Officials and Members of Parliament, who are in a position to disrupt these transformational initiatives. “The obstacle we face stems from those within our own government who sabotage our programs,” he emphasized. He recalled how the initiatives currently being implemented were not new but had been conceived a long time ago, with a particular focus on providing free education for underprivileged children.
The Greater Masaka Industrial Skilling Center, which was the centerpiece of the day’s event, is a notable example of such initiatives. As part of the 19 similar centers spread across the country, it provides vocational training at no cost to the youth aged 18-35 from the nine districts that constitute the greater Masaka sub-region and Masaka city.
This center offers an assortment of courses, including tailoring, hairdressing, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, craftsmanship, metal fabrication, food processing, and bakery skills. Following the completion of these courses, trainees are awarded a Level One Certificate of Uganda Vocational Qualifications. This certification, under the Directorate of Industrial Training and Ministry of Education and Sports, effectively equips them with the necessary skills to become self-employed.
President Museveni declared his intentions to demonstrate to the doubters and saboteurs the capacity of the government to uplift the economically disadvantaged by providing them with quality education and self-sustenance skills. “What we are doing here is what should have been done in the government’s primary and secondary schools,” the President stated.
He also mentioned the government’s recommitment to its policy of establishing government primary schools in every parish and a government secondary school in each sub-county nationwide. “Our goal is to make education affordable and accessible for all,” he said.
Furthermore, President Museveni hinted at the future inclusion of more vocational courses, such as leather technology. The ultimate goal, he noted, is to equip Ugandan children with the skills to manufacture products the country has been importing, thereby creating more job opportunities domestically. “We are jobless because we give out jobs to foreigners,” he said, pointing out plans to increase the intake of children from the current 204.
The President extended his appreciation to the Kingdom of Buganda for its collaborative efforts with the government in combating poverty and promoting wealth creation through developmental initiatives like the Parish Development Model (PDM), Presidential Zonal Industrial Hubs, and Emyooga.
He acknowledged the historical ties with the former Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Muteesa II, and commended the current kingdom leadership for its strong relationship with the central government and its significant contributions to Uganda’s socioeconomic transformation.
In his acknowledgment of the Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, President Museveni expressed his gratitude for Mayiga’s recent physical presence at the launch of the Presidential Industrial Hub in Masaka, describing it as a positive step in promoting wealth creation in the country.
The State House Comptroller, Barekye, provided further insight into the purpose of the skilling hubs, emphasizing their role in reducing youth unemployment and elevating the economic status of those who may not have had the opportunity to pursue formal education.
Barekye stressed the continuing access to the skilling center for students even after graduation, particularly when they receive income opportunities. She encouraged the business community to consider employing these well-trained individuals, urging them to “be ready to give them jobs.”