“Support President Museveni to Continue Transforming the Continue” – Minister Babalanda Urges Greater Masaka as 447 Youths Graduate in Vocational Skills

The Minister for Presidency, Hon. Babirye Milly Babalanda has urged the people of Greater Masaka to continue supporting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for continued stability that is now giving rise to the current socio-economic transformation in the country. 

According to Hon. Babalanda, the President’s focus is now on fighting unemployment in Uganda through skilling the youths.

“We are achieving all this because we have a leader with a vision for Uganda. Therefore, support him to do more. The more years we have with him, the more we will have stability and the more these industrial hubs will grow and expand even into universities to accommodate more children. Therefore, I call upon all of you to support President Museveni to lead the country and to transform it into a middle-income status country,” she said.

Hon. Babalanda made the remarks today during the graduation ceremony held at Greater Masaka Presidential Industrial Hub located at Ndegeya Village in Bugabira Parish, Masaka City.

The chief Guest the Minister for Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda delivering his speech during the 1st graduation for first and second intake 2023 of the Greater Masaka Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub Kiyimbwe Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Mukungwe county in Masaka district on the 29th April 2024. Photo by PPU/Tony Rujuta.

A total of 447 trainees from the first and the second intakes completed their vocational training and were awarded certificates in seven (7) disciplines namely; Bakery & Confectionery, Welding and metal fabrications, Leather processing (shoe making), Tailoring and designing, Hairdressing and makeup, Building and Construction Practice and Carpentry & Joinery.

“Today’s Graduation is a key achievement of the NRM Government, and it is in line with H.E the President’s campaign to promote the creation of jobs. The old saying of “he who teaches you how to fish is greater than he who gives you the fish” is coming to bear through these graduations. I commend H.E the President who had this vision of expanding employment opportunities and skills for the young people and Madam State House Comptroller, Jane Barekye and your staff for successfully implementing his vision and directives and effectively supervising and managing the industrial hubs,” Minister Babalanda said, calling upon parents to continue supporting their children as they begin their new journey by encouraging them to aim higher.

Former Vice President Edward Ssekandi being welcomed by Minister for Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda in the presence of the State House Comptroller Jane Barekye during the 1st graduation for first and second intake 2023 of the Greater Masaka Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub Kiyimbwe Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Mukungwe county in Masaka district

“I congratulate all our graduates for studying hard and learning to be job creators. The knowledge and skills you have acquired from this training should be applied to start your own enterprises. You may not start big but slowly you can grow your ideas into big Enterprises. Many of the successful businesspersons we have did not start with degrees but they used the knowledge of their sectors and the experience, skills and networks gained to grow into powerful individuals we talk about in the country,” the Minister informed the graduates. 

She further called on them to take advantage of the expanding business sector in Masaka and surrounding areas so that they can open up their own enterprises.

Minister for Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda and the State House Comptroller Jane Barekye admiring shoes made graduates of shoe and leather products during the 1st graduation for first and second intake 2023 of the Greater Masaka Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub Kiyimbwe Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Mukungwe county in Masaka district

“The people of greater Masaka are hardworking, religious and they have passion for business. That is why you have a lot of coffee here and Masaka City is now booming and busy and can be rated to be better than some cities I cannot mention here,” She stressed.

The state House Comptroller, Ms. Jane Barekye informed the chief guest that as one of the ways to improve household income in Uganda, President Museveni decided to start up industrial hubs across the country to train youths between 18-35 years in vocational skills. 

She further stressed that the industrial hubs project was an economic intervention to among others, create jobs among the youth, create job creators not job seekers, reduce criminality in the cities and to bridge the gap between the unemployed and the employed in the economic gains.

“The President is now planning to set up common user facilities with required machines in every district which hosts skilling hubs and other business centres to give opportunity to our youths who have graduated to continue practising their skills,” Ms. Barekye said, before calling upon the district leaders to employ the skilled youths.

“When awarding these contracts to build schools and other works, put a condition for those companies to make sure they employ our skilled youths because they have the required skills,” She said.

“To the graduates, discipline is the highest selling factor of each human being. Even if you have a degree but with no discipline, you won’t go anywhere. As you go out there, represent the name of our presidential hub well. You will succeed and I wish you the best,” she added.

The special envoy for Political Affairs- Office of the President, H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi expressed gratitude to President Museveni for what he said is a wonderful Initiative which has seen the youth of Uganda benefit from life skills.

“I have been watching and closely monitoring the Presidential Skilling Hub centres and I really appreciate the great work done by Ms. Jane Barekye. I thank her for diligently overseeing this project which His Excellency the President put in your hands,” H.E Ssekandi said.

H.E Ssekandi who is also the former Vice President of the republic of Uganda informed the chief guest that the Presidential Initiative has ushered many youths into the money economy and provided them opportunities to be job creators rather than job seekers and increase their household income.

Minister for Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda in the presence of the State House Comptroller Jane Barekye trying out the chairs made by graduates of carpentry during the 1st graduation for first and second intake 2023 of the Greater Masaka Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub Kiyimbwe Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Mukungwe county in Masaka district

“I therefore appeal to His Excellency the President to increase funding towards this Initiative so as to benefit more Ugandans,” H.E Ssekandi said. 

He further congratulated the students upon completing their skilling journey at the Presidential Skilling Hub, saying it is a great achievement not only for them and their families but also the country.

“I encourage the graduates to apply the virtues of integrity and resilience that have been imparted in you. As you leave the Institution and join the real world, I encourage you all to add on the knowledge and skills you have acquired. Continue to study and get up to date with the latest skills. I encourage you to seize every opportunity that will come your way and apply the skills you have acquired to handle the challenges you will encounter. The knowledge acquired here demonstrates that education unlocks potential and makes paths for a brighter future,” H.E Ssekandi informed the youths.

The Kabaka of Buganda representative in Buddu County, Ppokino Jude Muleke, appreciated President Museveni for not forgetting the youths who are pivotal in the development of any country.

“I thank His Excellency the President for this place. If you are to develop any country, we need to take care of the youths seriously. Currently, there’s an ongoing behaviour of abusing leaders. This is mainly because our people are redundant and lacking what to do. We hope that after getting skilled, our youths are going to get engaged in productive work,” Ppokino Muleke said, adding that Buganda Kingdom will continue to support all government programs aimed at developing the nation.

“I call upon the skilled youths not to forget commercial farming, especially planting coffee as you look for jobs. When the President was here, I asked him for a tractor to help our people in commercial agriculture. We hope it will help our people,” he said. 

Graduates were awarded with a Uganda Vocational Qualifications Level One Certificate by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), which is equivalent to the Uganda Certificate of Education level and internationally recognized according to Ms. Safinah Nakyobe, the Deputy Director in charge of qualification standards, DIT.

“This certificate is going to help you join the world of work with ease in the employment sector either by starting up your own business or getting employed. You have really made very good products and I thank you very much. I also thank the Government of Uganda for this initiative of skilling. Many Ugandans are not skilled and it becomes hard for them to get employment,” Ms. Nakyobe said.

The ceremony was also addressed by the NRM Vice Chairperson for Central region, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi who thanked the State House Comptroller for implementing the NRM’s 2021-2026 Manifesto premised on the theme “Securing your future”.

The Greater Masaka Industrial Hub is aimed at training and equipping youths from Masaka, Sembabule, Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Masaka City, Kyotera, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Rakai, in different vocational disciplines.

Ms. Namukasa Faridah from Lyantonde who got skills in welding and metal fabrication is among the students that expressed gratitude to the President for skilling them.

“Despite the fact that I’m a girl, I did not look down upon myself. Sometimes the metals would be heavy for me to carry but I did not give up. Now, I’m able to weld anything from windows, doors, fences etc.,” Faridah said.

She called upon fellow youths to take up the skilling program seriously and not to sit on themselves after training.

“Don’t go back and sit home. Our parents have done their part and President Museveni has trained us for free. Hit the field and show them what you can do. Long live His Excellency,” she added.

Graduates get excited after being certifying during the 1st graduation for first and second intake 2023 of the Greater Masaka Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub Kiyimbwe Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, Mukungwe county in Masaka district

Mr. Kagimu Abas from Nyendo- Mukungwe division in Masaka city informed the chief guest that he held a senior six certificate, but he could not do anything for himself and by the time of joining the hub, he was like someone who never went to school.

“I came here through my youth leader who directed me where to find application forms. As I talk now, I’m a qualified welder and I’m using the skill to earn money, yet I spent many years in formal education without any skill. I thank the President for this initiative of skilling us. I urge my fellow youths to take this opportunity seriously because it does not discriminate,” Mr. Kagimu said.

Ms. Namutebi Swabra from Lyantonde district also acquired skills in tailoring.

“I had some bit of formal education, but I could not do anything for myself. I came here to learn tailoring and in six months, I’m now able to do something to support myself. I also have a small boutique. I thank my instructors; Sharifa and Suzan for skilling me. Long Live H.E President Museveni.”

Other speakers at the ceremony included; the Director Presidential Projects and Industrial Hubs, Eng. Raymond Kamugisha, the Member of Parliament for Mawogola North constituency, Hon. Shartsi Musherure, the Former Minister for Defense and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, among others. 

Greater Masaka Zonal Industrial Hub is one of the 19 hubs set up across the country with the aim of equipping over 12, 000 youths every year under the Presidential Initiative on skilling of the youth to usher them into the money economy.