Wednesday , February 21 2024

Youth Activists Rally Parliament for Equal Business Opportunities & Inclusive Policies

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KAMPALA – A group of young activists has raised their voices in a call to Parliament, urging an end to the marginalization of youth in the business sector. They are advocating for tax exemptions similar to those provided to foreign investors in Uganda.

This appeal was passionately presented by Judith Bako of Arua City during her motion presentation to Parliament. She highlighted the unfavorable tax policies, lack of support for innovation and start-ups, and the underrepresentation of young people in crucial sectors.

Bako expressed deep concern for the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs in the country. While acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses, she emphasized the absence of tax exemptions for young business owners, contrasting this with the privileges afforded to foreign investors.

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Furthermore, Bako criticized the practice of denying job opportunities to young individuals due to a perceived lack of experience, pointing out the unrealistic expectations placed on fresh graduates. She highlighted the need for a shift in mindset, recognizing that young people cannot magically acquire years of experience while pursuing their education.

Sam Okot Olaa, Speaker of the 6th National Youth Parliament, echoed these sentiments. He called on fellow youths to use the platform as an opportunity to discuss strategies for addressing the high unemployment rates, both among educated youth and those who haven’t had the chance to access formal education. Olaa emphasized the rapidly changing global economy and the necessity of equipping young people with relevant skills for future job markets.

The youth petition also included a request for Parliament to task the Ministry of Water and Environment with expediting initiatives to combat climate change. They emphasized the importance of preserving the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

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Youth Speaker Okot encouraged his fellow young delegates to represent not only their personal viewpoints but also the interests of the vast majority of Uganda’s population. He highlighted the collective responsibility to create a better future for all, underscoring the pivotal role young people play in driving progress and positive change.

Phiona Nyamutoro, National Female Youth Representative, urged her peers to acknowledge the diversity within the youth population, including young children below 18 years of age who lack a platform to voice their concerns. She stressed the importance of inclusive representation and decision-making, acknowledging the responsibility of the youth to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Emmanuel Wabwire, Team Leader of the Faraja Africa Foundation, expressed gratitude to the partners who contributed to the success of the 6th National Youth Parliament. He emphasized the significance of the Youth Parliament as a platform for advocacy, engagement, exposure, and mentorship for young people in Uganda. Wabwire clarified that the National Youth Parliament is not a political institution but rather a space sanctioned by the Parliament of Uganda for young voices to be heard and contribute to legislative processes.

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