Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, has agreed to allocate Shs3 billion to the budget of the National Youth Council as requested by Parliament.
During the plenary session on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, Kasaija made this commitment in response to a statement by the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development regarding National Youth Day celebrations.
Kasaija stated, “Anything that concerns the future of this country should be deeply important to us, and the youth we are referring to are our future. I will work with the ministry to find the necessary funds to support the youth.”
This decision came after Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, urged the minister to prioritize youth-related matters in the country.
Tayebwa said, “I am awaiting your three percent supplementary budget, and you will see how the funds will be allocated. You may question if Shs3 billion is enough to address the concerns of 75 percent of our population. While it may not solve all the problems, it will promote inclusivity and respect for youth issues.”
Tayebwa emphasized the importance of this decision by mentioning the upcoming general elections, which will introduce seven million young voters. He added, “These young voters will wonder why Shs3 billion couldn’t be allocated for them. I urge you to intervene, Hon. Minister.”
The Minister of State for Gender, Labour, and Social Development (Youth and Children), Sarah Nyirabashitsi, revealed that the finance ministry had reduced the National Youth Council’s budget by 80 percent, from Shs4 billion in the 2022/2023 Financial Year to Shs800 million in the 2023/2024 Financial Year.
She stated, “In the last quarter, we received only Shs200 million, although we were supposed to receive Shs1 billion as part of the agreed Shs4 billion per financial year.”
Nyirabashitsi further explained that each district receives Shs4 million annually to support youth executive committees, but this amount was not disbursed in the last quarter due to the significant budget cut for the National Youth Council.
The National Youth Day, typically celebrated on August 12 each year, was commemorated on August 18 this year.