President Yoweri Museveni has advised enterprises seeking government support to team up in groups of similar skill sets saying it will be easier for goverment to avail them capital.
The President made the appeal on Wednesday while he was presiding over the Women’s Day celebrations in Kampala at Kololo independence grounds. The celebrations were organized by Kampala Capital City Authority and the Ministry of Kampala Metropolitan Affairs.
The women’s day theme for Uganda this year was “Empowering Women through Innovative Approaches to Social Protection: A Pre-requisite for Inclusive and Sustainable Development”.
In his message to the women, Museveni reiterated his call for the elimination of poverty at the household level.
“My message to the women, who came in their hundreds, was that we must do everything within our means to eliminate household poverty,” he said.
“The government through different funds will support organized groups to create wealth,” he added.
Government has been implementing numerous programs to support women’s participation and advancement.These programs include; the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP), the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).
UWEP which was launched four years ago seeks to promote women’s access to affordable credit markets and entrepreneurship skills. Todate, the program has financed 8,247 projects with a total of 103,770 women beneficiaries, said the Minister.
Beneficiaries include single mothers, widows, women slum dwellers, Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors, women with disabilities, women living in hard to reach areas, women heading households, women living with HIV and AIDs and ethnic minorities.
Museveni alluded to his recent visit to Kassanda in Mityana district where a group of youths proposed that every group with the same set of skills or occupation must form a SACCO of its own, right from the parish to the district.
The President has supported the proposal and asked other groups that run startups and enterprises to merge with other groups with similar skill set.
“If they do that, the government will also support them. For example, all hair dressers in Kassanda formed a group of their own. We ended up having 13 different groups to which the government gave Shs 20 million each,” he said.
“The government is also making efforts to market our products regionally and globally,” the President told the women who gathered in Kololo.
“I also want us to start making our own products for example using our leather to make shoes. The cotton industry is doing well because we are making our own clothes”
Commenting on the complaints made by youths who say they have failed to access the funds availed by goverment, Museveni had opposition politicians and their electorate to blame.
“I have also heard some of you complain that you cannot access these projects. But what happens when you vote wrong people who simply oppose the government and cannot help you lobby for and oversee these projects?” he wondered.
Nonetheless, he gave assurance that the NRM “is still around and will support you”.