If anybody should tell you that “hard work pays,” it is Alex Oyat who runs a stall at Lagara Road in Gulu Municipality, welcoming every customer with a smile as he points to the packed assortments of Sim- Sim, Ground Nuts and white ants paste, a business that he is so proud of and is the breadline for his family.
Unlike other youths in the region who have either resorted to drinking because they cannot find work or combing the streets looking for work that isn’t there, Oyat says that self reliance is the only way to survive these days.
“Am my own supervisor and at the moment I employed five people including my machine operators who help me with the grinding,” Oyat says.
Oyat, 30, started his business with one grinding machine which charged to grind paste for his customers, but he soon realised that he could make his own paste, pack it and sell not only to individual customers but also to businesses at a larger profit margin.
At the moment he distributes to hotels and restaurants in Gulu town but his ambition is to supply the entire Acholi sub region.
Depending on the size, prices will vary; sim sim paste ranges from shs 5,000 - 25,000; G-Nuts from shs 8,000 - 35,000 and White ants from shs 7,000 -15,000.
He says that during school times, his daily income ranges from shs150,000 - 250,000 on a daily basis.
“I realised that there were raw materials that needed to be processed, and I started with shs 500,000. I have grown and am thinking big,” he said.
He added that he wants to create jobs for the redundant youths in the district who seem to have given up on life having failed to get white collar jobs in the government sector.
At the moment a kilogram of Sim Sim sells at Shs 3,000, G-nuts Shs 4,000 and White ants are seasonal and prices will vary depending on harvest.
Oyat says that he also wants to make use of his 250 hectares of land so that he can produce Groundnuts and Sim Sim on it for his own.
Mr Kyateka Mondo the Assistant Commissioner, for Youth and Children Department in the country says that Uganda has the world’s highest youth unemployment, according to a World Bank report.
Mondo says the level of unemployment in Uganda has economic and social implications. From an economic point of view, he says the overall unemployment rate remains one of the key measures of an economy’s performance.
“Unemployment rate is not only of economic significance, but also of social importance and a key variable in alleviating poverty,” he said.
Mondo believes that with a high unemployment rate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to alleviate poverty and inequality in Uganda in the long term.
“Poverty breeds a growing sense of powerlessness and indignity of being unable to think, plan or dream beyond the daily struggle of survival,” he explains. By A Web design Company
By A Web design Company