By Moses Oketayot
The 2021 National Labour Force Survey undertaken by Uganda Bureau of Statistics has shown that only 18% of employers remit their employees social security savings to National Social Security Fund (NSSF), with a whopping 73% receiving no form of social protection or any workplace benefit.
The report shows that the national population is 42.9 people, with male being 49% and female 51%,respectively though current estimates as at October 2022 stands at 44,4m. The national census is slated for August 2023, with census mapping, creation of boundaries and enumeration areas being undertaken by UBOS.
This was revealed by Ogen Michael; a Principal statistician who presented the findings of the report on Wednesday at Kampala Serena Hotel at the launch of the report. The survey was done in 146 districts between the period June-December 2021.
Furthermore the report revealed that only 19% of the working population have medical insurance, and paid annual leave respectively.
The report also established that the minimal earnings of Ugandans in employment was Ugx200,000.
On the issue of contracts for the labour force, the report showed that 67% of the work agreement type are oral in nature, with 33% having a formal written contract.
The working population stands at 20 million excluding those in subsistence work with 61.4% employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 13.4% in industries, and 24.8% in the services sector.
The report shows that 40% of people working in agriculture, 21% unpaid care work, and 39% in other subsistence work are not paid.
The report puts the unemployment rate at 12% nationally, with 49% who were in long term (one year and above) unemployment, with Bukedi 24.7%, Bunyoro 17%, Kampala and Tooro 14.6% having the highest sub-regional unemployment rates.
On child labour within the country, the reports shows that 6.2 (40%) million children aged between 5-17 years were in child labour excluding household chore, with Karamoja (55.6%), Acholi (45.7), Buganda North(42.8%), Busiga(46%),Lango (52%), Elgon (47%) and Ankole (42%) having the highest child labour rates by sub-region.
Dominic Mafabi Gidudu, the state minister for gender, labour and social development in charge of elderly affairs, who represented the line minister Betty Amongi at the launch of the report commended UBOS for providing statistics that help in monitoring the labour market in the country.
He further said that the young population is both a challenge and an opportunity in that the country is assured of labour in the future. Mafabi however underscored the need to carefully study and determine the number of the working population in gainful employment.
Amongi in her message that was read by Mafabi urged Ugandans to child labour because it is unlawful, and rallied all government ministries, departments and agencies to use the findings of the report for evidence-based decision making and planning for the population.
Implication of the findings
Aggrey David Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary of MGLSD said that the 18% remission rate by employers to NSSF is still very low, but he urged the working employment to embrace voluntary saving with NSSF to avoid having a dependent elderly population in the future that would strain government resources, as he added: “If we don’t increase that number, then it means that the burden on government to take care of its elderly citizens increases.”
He called upon all workers to demand for their rights at their places of employment so that their employer remit the required 15% to NSSF, so that employees have a fallback position at retirement.
Ogen said that the findings of the report should be utilitized effectively by government for instance reducing unemployment rate of 12%, and child labour of 40%.
He concluded that having few people in gainful employment means household income is affected, and child labour affects the quality of the labour force in future.
Development Partner response.
The development partners that funded the survey were the International Labour Organization, and the European Union, who said that the completion of the survey was a landmark to achieving labour force development in the country.