41% of youth, which represents 9.3 million aged between 18 and 30 years are unemployed, says a survey conducted at the end of last year by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos).
Youth unemployment remains a serious scourge to Uganda, which has forced the government to recently concede that the level of the country’s growth was not matching up with job creation.
Against that backdrop, the President embarked on a mission to create jobs, through wooing investors from across the world to invest in Uganda, focusing on agro-processing and manufacturing (industrialisation).
The foreign investors are given waivers in form of tax exemptions, holidays and other incentives. In return, they are required to employ 80% of Ugandans, use local raw materials and give the local market a priority.
By employing 80%, government through these foreigners is indirectly creating jobs for the 41% unemployed youth.
Equally, domestic investors are offered incentives to help them bolster their start-up businesses. Waivers on imported raw materials, tax holiday, exemptions and among others.
Steel and Tube Industries Limited, is among the very few established manufacturing companies that benefit from these government policies.
Its owner who remains little known is a Ugandan- Joseph Yiga but employs a foreigner Nilax Bhatt as Managing Director to oversee the operations of the company.
Mr Bhatt, according to information obtained, earns over $6000, minus housing and medical allowances.
Being an Indian national he repatriates part of the salary to his home country in inform of capital flight leaving the economy drained.
Bhatt is not the only Indian at the company. We have found out that almost all senior management positions are occupied by Indians; head finance, accountant, general manager, Information Technology and among others. It turns out that senior positions left for Ugandans are inconsequential, for example Human Resource, Stores, public relations, marketing, transport and others.
Information obtained further reveals that despite being a Ugandan, Mr Yiga doesn’t believe in his kinsmen as being thorough in executing their duties with precision.
However, the same Ugandans buy his products.
In 2018 Mr Yiga invited President Museveni to officially commission a multibillion Steel and Tube manufacturing plant in Namanve, Mukono District.
The President, as patriotic as he is, noticed the imbalance in human resource, he then inquired from Mr Yiga why he was employing many Indians as opposed to the policy knowing that government is battling unemployment in the country.
Yiga defended his choice of labourers saying the major reason he outsources Indians is corruption.
He said, Ugandans are thieves, who, when they decide to steal, they will leave no single coin behind.
He defended the Asians saying they are hard working, good managers and don’t have ‘a long arm’ compared to Ugandans.
That Indians if they decide to steal company funds, they steal less because of obvious reasons. They fear arrest and also are not conversant with the environment.
Also, the raw materials used at Steel and Tube are imported from Indians, it is therefore easier to have people who can negotiate at a cheaper price.
Steel and Tube metamorphosed from Hardware Deals (U) Ltd which was incorporated and started trading steel and hardware products in 1985.
10 years later Hardware Deals acquired a new location at Nakawa selling bulk steel products. Total capacity at 30,000 MT annually.
In 2002 it introduced the 1st ever Stainless Steel Tanks and Mat Tile roof sheets to the Ugandan market. Total production capacity at 55,000 MT annually.
In 2004 Mr Yiga opened a 2nd manufacturing plant in Kazinga under Steel and Tube Industries Ltd. Total production capacity at 84,000 MT annually.
Since then the company has expanded its existing production lines, with a total installed capacity of 360,000 MT annually.