1. It gives me much pleasure to address you on the eve of International Labour Day 2017.
2. Ladies and Gentlemen, as you are already aware, on the 1st of May every year, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Labour Day.
3. It is well known that every single good or service is a product of labour. Labour therefore plays a significant role in the socioeconomic development of a country.
4. Accordingly, International Labour Day is an occasion when the country takes off time to congratulate workers for their contribution towards the economic development of our Motherland Uganda.
5. International Labour Day has always been celebrated under different themes and this year’s theme is “Building the Nation through Good Work Ethics”
6. The choice of this year’s theme for Labour Day celebrations was arrived at after realization that productivity of labour and its contribution to national development can only be realized if workers perform their duties ethically.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen, the attributes of good work ethics which we must strengthen within our working people include:
(i) Hard work; (ii) Honesty; (iii) Dependability; (iv) Accountability;
(v) Determination; (vi) Pursuit for excellence; (vii) National consciousness; (viii) Timeliness; and (ix) Efficiency.
8. I therefore would like to urge all workers and all Ugandans to use the occasion of International Labour Day to reflect on how best we can strengthen good work ethics as a country.
9. Let me also use the occasion of this year’s Labour Day celebrations to assure Ugandans that the NRM Government is deeply mindful of the need for the country to create more employment opportunities for the ever increasing number of young people entering the market.
10. In this regard, the NRM will continue pursuing policies that have ensured low inflation, sustained investment growth and continuous expansion of the economy.
11. Furthermore, I would like to assure you fellow citizens that in view of current and planned government interventions, employment creation will soon be greatly enhanced.
12. I wish at this moment to highlight some of these key interventions:
(i) There is ongoing expansion of power generation. With the completion of Karuma, Ayago and Isimba Hydro power dams, electricity generation will increase from the current 850MW to 2500MW by 2020. This will greatly reduce the cost of industrial production and ultimately facilitate the creation of more employment opportunities;
(ii) The Government is fast-tracking the process of production of oil under an initiative known as Fast Oil 2020. It is estimated that about 150,000 jobs will be created under the Albertine Oil Development project alone. Of these, 15,000 will be direct jobs, 35,000 indirect jobs and 100,000 induced jobs (induced jobs are jobs created as a result of wealth created through redistribution of oil revenue in the country);
(iii) Under the UWEP programme, the Government will extend over 125 billion to about 10,000 women groups and it is expected that about 100,000 jobs will be created from this initiative alone;
(iv) Since 2014, 72.5 billion shillings has been disbursed under the Youth Livelihood Programme leading to the creation of 125,794 direct jobs.
(v) To address the skills mismatch, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has finalized the development of a National Apprenticeship Framework. The Framework is expected to facilitate the use of work based learning as a tool for narrowing the skills mismatch among the employed and the unemployed;
(vi) Under the Green Jobs Programme, it is expected that 500,000 jobs will be created.
13. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government remains committed to improving the conditions of work. To this end, a Minimum Wage Advisory Board was constituted. The Board has concluded its work and will submit its report to me by first week of May 2017.
14. To ensure expeditious resolution of labour disputes, the Industrial Court was reconstituted and re-operationalised. The Industrial Court has since its re-opening in 2014 disposed of over 300 cases.
Finally, as I conclude, I would like to congratulate all Ugandan workers on the occasion to mark Labour Day 2017 for their continued contribution to our country’s development. Further, I wish to assure all Ugandans that the Government is taking every step to ensure that creation of employment is enhanced.
The venue for this year’s Labour Day celebrations is Kamuge Saza Grounds in Pallisa District. I therefore wish to invite all Ugandans to join the workers in celebrating the International Labour Day either at the national or district celebrations.
For God and My Country.
Mutuuzo Peace Regis
MINISTER OF STATE FOR GENDER AND CULTURE AFFAIRS HOLDING THE PORTFOLIO OF MINISTER OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT