David Bahati

David Bahati

Tabling the request in Parliament, State minister of Finance David Bahati said the loan will enable Ugandans acquire better labour skills through short-term training courses to address acute skills shortages.

?A skilled labour force contributes to improved growth and competitiveness of a country. Investing in the productivity and skills of people raises the incomes of economically vulnerable groups, thereby reducing poverty,? he said.

According to Bahati, the beneficiaries will be both new entrants into the labor market and those who are already employed and self-employed in areas of art, crafts and technical skills.

Bahati explained that the project will focus on improving quality and relevance of skills training in specific training institutions but it will also lay the foundations for scaling up interventions across the spectrum of institutions that provide training for the targeted sectors,? Bahati told the legislators.

Bahati noted that although there are several public and private institutions offering training, they fall short on quality and lack connection with market needs.

?Across public and private institutions there are concerns with access, equity, quality and relevance of programs. This is why we need to enhance the capacity of institutions to deliver high quality, demand driven training programs in target sector,? he said.

He regretted that currently, most institutions face key issues such as outdated curricula, untrained teachers and lack of effective student tracking system from graduation to placement which need to be urgently addressed.

Although the minister did not mention the beneficiary institutions, he said Technical Institutes in Lira, Bushenyi, Elgon, Bukalasa will be upgraded to the excellence level.

Bahati told parliament that the project is also in line with Vision 2040, and the National development Plan with the theme ?strengthening Uganda?s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.?

On the current debt burden, Bahati said Uganda?s debt burden currently stands at $7b of which $4b is external and $2.8b is domestic debt as of March 2014.

He said due to prudent debt management and positive outlook in the economic growth, exports and domestic revenues performance, Uganda?s public debt is still sustainable and is under no debt distress.

?The prospects of large oil revenues make our debt even more sustainable as it will increase GDP growth, export receipts and domestic revenues,? he said.

By Mary Karugaba, The New Vision

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