Prof Lilian Tibatemwa, the PLA chairperson

The Northern and Eastern regions are still the most poverty stricken parts of the informal sector in the country, a Platform for Labour Action report on Civic and Political participation of women and youths in the informal sector has revealed.

The study conducted in five districts of Dokholo, Kaliro, Iganga, Bugiri and Amulata attributed the high levels of poverty in the two regions to high unemployment and illiteracy rates.

Statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics show that 61.2 per cent of the working poor are in northern Uganda while 43.6 per cent are in the east.

The working poor are individuals who are part of the working labour force but whose incomes fall below the official poverty line of $1 (shs2,390)per day.

But the disturbing fact is that these make up a big part of the informal sector that contributes more than 20 per cent to the national gross domestic product.

Speaking during the launch of the report in Kampala on Wednesday, Prof Lilian Tibatemwa, the PLA chairperson, said despite its great contribution to the economy, the informal sector has received little attention from the government.

Women and youths are the most affected of the population. For instance, out of the 67 per cent of the working persons employed in the informal sector, women account for 71 per cent compared to their male counterparts that stand at 64 per cent.

“The above national figures justify the need to pay special attention to women and youth in the informal sector, particularly in the northern and eastern region” Prof. Tibatemwa said.

The vice president, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi said the government would take action and use the study as a basis to uplift the country’s economy.

“The government is committed to transform Uganda from peasantry to modernity. This research captures the challenges that lie ahead of government and we shall ensure that we get remedies,’ Mr Ssekandi said.

By Flavia Nalubega, Daily Monitor

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