In Summary
  • The issue: Minimum wage.
  • Our view: As government drives industrialisation as a means of growing the economy and creating employment opportunities, it should also, as a matter of urgency, pass the sector Minimum Wage Bill that will protect the employees.

On Tuesday, President Museveni commissioned more than eight industries in Uganda’s eastern region, in the districts of Jinja and Buikwe, in one of the largest such single-day launch of multiple manufacturing factories in Uganda’s history.

The eight factories include Nile Aluminum Limited, Nile Batteries, Nile Wheat, Auromeera Paper, Modern Distillers, Modern Laminates and Nile Water. The launch comes with excitement because of the expected jobs to be created and other subsidiary economic opportunities that will accrue.

The factories will employ more than 800 people directly and 2,800 indirectly. This plan is a grand government scheme to try to create employment and improve the Gross Domestic Product and balance of trade of the country. During the 1960s into early 1990s, Jinja was renowned as an industrial hub of Uganda, with several industries; ranging from steel rolling to grain milling.

Some industries were, of course, located in Tororo and Mbale such as African Textile Mill (ATM) that employed many people who used the income earned from their employment to educate their children.
So, industrialisation will always remain the panacea to personal and national development and, therefore, the President’s call to investors to set up industries is paying off and should be commended.

However, as quoted by some residents, President Museveni was requested to ask investors to increase the employees’ wages, something the President noted can only happen after the investors have made profits lest their businesses collapse.

At this rate then, the workers will not be able to receive a remuneration commiserate with their job and in return, their children may not get an education they deserve, as it were.

So as government drives industrialisation as a means of growing the economy and creating employment opportunities, it should also, as a matter of urgency, pass the sector Minimum Wage Bill that will protect the employees so that at the end of the day, there is multi-sectoral growth and balance.

Ms Evelyn Anite, the State minister for Investments, said upon her appointment to that docket about three years ago, that she was tasked to set up 25 industrial parks but 17 have so far been established. Let government proceed to actualise the remaining 17 to provide more gainful employment that will come with improved GDP.

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