Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, has yielded to a Parliament request to finance the Shs3 billion budget of the National Youth Council.
Kasaija made the commitment during the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 10 October 2023 as he was responding to an earlier statement by the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development on the National Youth Day celebrations.
“Anything that touches the future of this country, should be very deep in our hearts and the children we are talking about are our future. I will go back to the ministry to suppress somewhere so that the youth are facilitated,” Kasaija said.
He made the pronouncement following an appeal by the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, who asked the minister to prioritise youth issues in the country.
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“I am waiting for your three percent supplementary and you will see where you will have put the money, and you will ask yourself a question whether you could not get Shs3 billion to address issues to do with 75 percent of this population,” Tayebwa said.
He added that whilst the money may not solve all the problems that young people are facing, providing it will promote inclusivity and respect for youth issues in the country.
“In the next general elections, we are adding seven million voters who are young people. These youths will look at the MPs and wonder why we could not get for them Shs3 billion. I beseech you, see a way of intervening, Hon. Minister,” Tayebwa said.
According to the Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Youth and Children), Sarah Nyirabashitsi, the finance ministry slashed the budget of the National Youth Council by 80 percent, from Shs4 billion in the Financial Year 2022/2023 to Shs800 million in the Financial Year 2023/2024.
“Last quarter they gave us Shs200 million yet we were supposed to receive Shs1 billion because we are supposed to get Shs4 billion per financial year. That is what we agreed but we have not received the money,” said the minister.
Hon. Nyirabashitsi added that each district receives Shs4 million annually to facilitate the youth executive committees.
“In the last quarter, we did not send anything, reason, the finance for the National Youth Council was reduced by 80 percent,” she said.
The National Youth day is celebrated on 12 August each year but this year’s commemorations were held on 18 August.