Bunyoro Embraces President Museveni’s Development Agenda as Prime Minister Nabbanja Passes Out 454 Skilled Youths

The Prime Minister of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja has underscored the need for community engagement and support from all stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and leaders at all levels to encourage the youths to embrace vocational skills offered by the Presidential skilling hubs if the country is to thrive as a middle-income economy.

“We must change our mindset about vocational training and see it as a valuable, respectable, and profitable path. In vocational training, we are nurturing an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. Our youths should not only be job-ready but also equipped to create jobs,” Rt. Hon. Nabbanja said.

The Prime Minister who is also the Woman Member of Parliament for Kakumiro district, made the remarks on Sunday 5th May, 2024 at the second graduation ceremony of Bunyoro Zonal Presidential Industrial Hub situated in Nyakarongo village in Kimengo sub-county, Masindi district.

A total of 454 trainees of the second and third intakes completed their vocational training and were awarded certificates in seven (7) disciplines namely; bakery & confectionery, tailoring and design, hairdressing and makeup, building and construction practice and carpentry & joinery, welding and metal fabrications as well as leather processing (shoe making).

“I am here because of the NRM commitment to education. Skilling Ugandans is a key component of our national development agenda to empower the youth, reduce unemployment and drive economic growth. The NRM government is focusing on initiatives like establishing industrial training institutes and innovation hubs to help us achieve our development agenda. We have enhanced the education curriculum in schools to include practical and technical skills. These efforts aim to align educational outcomes with the labour market demands and the broader economic needs of the country,” Rt. Hon. Nabbanja said.

She further noted that the modern economies demand a workforce that is versatile, innovative, and above all, skilled and it is the government’s responsibility to prepare the youth by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed and to ensure they are not just job seekers but job creators.

“Skills such as carpentry, plumbing, agriculture, and information technology are not just pathways to employment; they are the backbone of our economy. These are the skills that build nations. China is now a global economic power because of skilling their people. Our government has embarked on several initiatives to promote vocational skills. We have increased funding for vocational schools, introduced new technology courses and are continuously updating the curricula to meet the demands of today’s industry need,” she stressed.

At least 300 trainees from Hoima City, Hoima District, Masindi, Masindi Municipality, Kiryandongo, Buliisa, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibale and Kakumiro are recruited per intake with each district sending at least 22 trainees.

On the other hand, Rt. Hon. Nabbanja congratulated the graduates upon completing the course but warned them against running to money lenders to acquire start-up capital but rather make use of initiatives like innovation hubs, startup grants like Youth livelihood program, Emyooga among others which are being rolled out to support young entrepreneurs across the country.

“You can easily make yourself enslaved to money lenders. We know many people who have lost their property to money lenders. That’s why H.E the President put in place these programs like the Youth Livelihood program, Uganda Women Empowerment program and Emyooga. As a leader of government business, When I go back to Kampala, I will coordinate the managers of these programs to make sure that our skilled youths can be targeted and assisted,” Prime Minister Nabbanja said.

Each learner was 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 in the world of work.

“As you go out into the world of work, you only need to look after yourselves. Avoid bad groups that can take you back. Be aware of HIV/AIDS that can make you a wasted character. I want to congratulate you all upon this milestone,” Rt. Hon. Nabbanja added.

According to the State House Comptroller, Ms. Jane Barekye, the multi-billion project was set up with the aim of addressing poverty, unemployment through skilling the youths and promoting import substitution.

“Another objective was to reduce the level of criminality in the towns, in the villages and in our communities which was perpetrated by the high levels of unemployment. Most of the youths had turned into criminals but after 6 months, they are now good citizens who love their country and good people to live with,” Ms. Barekye said.

She revealed that President Museveni plans to establish common user facilities with the required machinery in different commercial districts where skilled graduates can operate from and sell their products. 

Ms. Barekye also informed the Chief Guest that President Museveni will in the near future launch the 4-acre model training in the skilling hubs that will also act as demonstration farms for the surrounding locals to learn how to use a small piece of land to do commercial agriculture.

The LCV Chairperson for Masindi District who also doubles as the Zonal hub Chairperson, Mr. Cosmas Byaruhanga lauded President Museveni for what he termed as a great idea that has enabled a total of 664 youths to graduate since the inception of the Presidential hub.

“In the first intake, we had 210 students who graduated, and now we have 454 graduated youth, well skilled in those various programs which our community demands. This was a great idea of His Excellency the President of Uganda to fight unemployment,” Mr. Byaruhanga said.

He further called upon the government through the Office of the Prime Minister to have a special grant for Bunyoro and provide start-up capital in the form of equipment to the skilled youths to enable them start their own enterprises.

Mr. Byaruhanga also appreciated Uganda Investment Authority for availing them with 100 acres of land on which the Bunyoro Industrial hub is seated.

“This place was secured from Uganda Investment Authority because as you are aware, land is very difficult to get. We had almost failed as Bunyoro to get land for this industrial hub yet H.E the President has ordered every region to have an industrial hub. I want to thank the UIA for availing this land. And this is what made me stay here as district chairperson, I would be in Parliament as MP,” Mr. Byaruhanga said.

Mr. Tindyebwa Abdu Majid Adam from Hoima and a former student of bakery informed the chief guest that he got to know about the program through his district youth Councillor who helped him fill application forms to get recruited at the industrial hub.

Mr. Tindyebwa who identified himself as a transformation influencer, thanks to the mindset change component by the UPDF, appreciated President Museveni for the free skills that has enabled many to get employed.

“When I finished my 6 months training here in bakery, I went to Hoima Resort Hotel where I got an internship opportunity for 3 months and because of what my instructors had put into my head, I was finally employed as a chef at the hotel,” Mr. Tindyebwa said.

Earlier, The National Youth Coordinator- State House, Eng. Joseph Ssewava and the Director Political Mobilisation- State House, Mr. Robert Rwakandare appreciated the people of Bunyoro for electing President Museveni, saying without him, such programs would not be in place.

“We have three candles for; Peace, faith and Love. We have to thank H.E the President, the commander in Chief of the UPDF for the peace we are enjoying today across the country,” Mr. Ssewava said.

The ceremony was also addressed by the Woman Member of Parliament for Masindi, Dr. Asiimwe Florence Akiiki and the Member of Parliament for Buruuli county Hon. Aled Akugizibwe who appreciated the President for the initiative aimed at enabling all the Banyoro to join the money economy.

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

Other beneficiaries include Greater Mbarara, Kigezi-Kabale, Greater Masaka, Kayunga, Kampala, Kyenjojo, Kasese, Ntoroko, Adjumani, Gulu, Lira, Mbale, Kibuku, and Jinja districts.

The ceremony was attended by Resident District Commissioners, LCV chairpersons, security officers, District Commercial Officers and District National Resistance Movement-NRM chairpersons.