Uganda: Govt Creates U.S.$12.4 MIllion Fund for Unemployed Graduates

00191952 67cb90987a6c69cab09098c08bbef473 arc495x324 w495 us1“President Yoweri Museveni is concerned about the high rate of unemployment among graduates churned out of Uganda’s universities.”

The remarks were made last week by finance state minister Matia Kasaija in justifying the sh16b government intends to give to unemployed graduates to start income-generating activities.

“The President is in a dilemma. After promoting education, so many parents have educated their children up to university level, but a big number of the graduates are roaming streets looking for jobs. That is why he has decided to come up with the Graduate Venture Capital scheme,” Kasaija explained.

Statistics indicate that every year, tertiary institutions produce 400,000 graduates, out of whom only 80,000 (20%) get meaningful employment. The rest either remain unemployed or are underemployed.

The minister informed the parliamentary finance committee that in the next financial year, the Government has secured sh32b to cater for unemployed graduates, half of which (sh16b) is to be raised by commercial banks.

The minister noted that unlike the Youth Venture funds where only three banks are involved, 10 banks have come on board to provide money for the Graduate Venture Capital scheme.

The graduates will be charged an interest rate of 15%.

The 10 banks, according to Kasaija, have already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government.

The Graduate Venture Capital Scheme was first announced last year in June, but the Government was not able to implement it this financial year.

The minister told the committee that given the seriousness the Government attaches to the intervention of the scheme, it will avail more funds in the subsequent financial years to boost the programme.

Kyamuswa MP Tim Lwanga complained that whereas the Government has so far spent sh25b on youth venture funds, the list of beneficiaries did not include any youth from Kalangala district.

Kasaija explained that some districts such as Kalangala could not benefit from the funds because none of the three banks (Stanbic, Centenary and dfcu) has a branch there.

He advised such areas to set up either SACCOS or Village Savings and Loan Associations so that the Government can channel the money through them.

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