The Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) ought to be revised
The YLP is a Government Programme being implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development since FY2013-2014. It was designed to respond to the existing challenge of unemployment among the Youths.
From 2013 to date, the government has injected about Ugx 68.42bn into the program. In FY2013/14, the program was allocated Ugx 2.1bn, FY2014/15 Ugx 33.32bn, FY2015/16 Ugx 33bn. In FY2016/17, the program has received a vote allocation of Ugx 75bn.
In FY2015/16, the Ministry reported in its Ministerial Policy Statement that by the end of December 2014 a total of 2,788 projects worth Ugx19.63bn had been processed and 6,181 projects worth Ugx 43.62bn, by the end of December 2015. However, the unemployment status quo remains unshaken.
Recently, the Ministry produced a report: “Status of Problematic Youth Projects”. Highlighting a number of youth ventures where a lot of money have been misused. The media has been awash with stories of fraud of the fund. For instance, Namutumba and Apac district authorities are failing to recover about Ugx 220m and Ugx 354m disbursed to youth groups respectively.
The New Vision paper had earlier on reported the arrest of Youth groups leaders in Tororo District leaders over Ugx 632m from the government evolving youth fund. Mr. Pius Bigirimana, the sector’s Permanent Secretary has said that about 17 districts are most likely to miss out on the fund in the coming financial year if they fail to account for the earlier disbursed funds. This is not the first time government is coming up with such projects. Only that this particular one is specific for the youth.
There was Agricultural Sector Modernization Plan 1998-2001; Entadikwa Scheme; and Bonabagagawale (Prosperity for All). All these aimed at intensifying agricultural production to increase household income and improving food security. However, little was achieved in terms of success stories.
Julius Tamale, a Youth and Research Assistant at the Cluster Development and Innovation Centre at Makerere University argues that the challenge with the Fund was the lack of proper feasibility study on the viable projects where to invest money. He suggests that the project should have targeted individual youths to enable them to employ others because not all people are entrepreneurs. However, some people are not in agreement with this. Hon Denis Obua, Member of Parliament for Ajuli County and Former Youth MP for Northern Uganda advises that young people should learn to work together. And that the guidelines should be much tighter because some district officials approve Ugx 10m for a Youth group only to get less of the approved amount.
In light of all this, it would have been proper for both Parliament and Government to first interest themselves in the question as to why those earlier projects collapsed with little marginal results despite sinking in a lot of money. This is because there is no big difference between this program with previous ones.
Without proper monitoring and accountability mechanisms, the project is most likely to take the same route just like the earlier ones. Therefore, to avoid this repetition, Parliament should reconsider reallocating the Ugx 75bn to the revitalization of cooperatives which has been allocated only Ugx 2bn.
The establishment of a Cooperative Bank which remains an unfunded priority with Ugx 35bn in FY2016/17. And an addition to the Uganda Development Corporation to invest in agro-processing industries to enable the completion of the production chain in the agricultural sector which employees the largest number of youths.
This will provide proper training and monitoring of farmers and increase agricultural productivity as well as creation of more formal employment opportunities.
 The Daily Monitor News Paper 18th April, 2016,