More than 50% of Ugandans in paid employment earn $50 monthly and they may be satisfied with it

6 of every 10 households in Uganda make less than $100 in a month. This is despite the rising costs of living in the nation.

The figures are courtesy of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics’ National Labor Force Survey (NLFS) 2021. Following the presentation of the report in the capital city of Kampala, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) principal statistician Micheal Ogen was interviewed, and he revealed that 50% of working Ugandans earn around Shs200,000 or less, in a month.

He said, “about 50% of Ugandans in paid employment earn some Shs200,000 or less and that is properly reflected in our findings.”

However, this figure does not entirely reflect the happiness level of the labor force in Uganda as the same survey reveals that many employees, despite the low levels of wages, seem satisfied with their work.

This creates an anomaly in the job market, as the survey also shows that 49% of the working age population were outside the labor force, and 45% felt discouraged and therefore didn’t go hunting for a job.

These disparaging findings simply denote that the wage level discourages a number of people from even working in the first place, but those that do find work, are fairly satisfied with the fact that they are at least earning something, an economic double edged sword.

The Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Patrick Ocailap, noted that to solve the problem of low wages, the production sector in the country needs development.

He also noted that another huge problem with the wage is that the government does not have the capacity to fix the sheer lack of jobs, and as such it is left to private institutions to create a competitive and productive labor ecosystem, so as to bolster the economy. In this it is the government’s role to create policies that support the growth of private companies.

“Once the private sector does well as a result of the policies that will spur growth, then the incentives to increase payments will follow suit.” he said.

“The government is trying to do what it’s supposed to do. I can tell after 5 years from now with the Parish Development Model that would have made available about Shs5 trillion going directly into improving production, coupled with other supportive government programmes, the issue of the wages will be dealt with.” He added.