ISSUE 64 | MAY 2024

AN OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE FEDERATION OF UGANDA EMPLOYERS

FUENEWS

THE VOICE OF EMPLOYERS

FUE CEO MESSAGE

Dear Esteemed Member,

In recent years, emerging technologies and new work trends have transformed the world of work globally with organisations embarking on a digital transformation journey to thrive in the evolving labour market.

According to the Future of Jobs Report 2023 developed by the World Economic Forum, technological advancement, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), will create 69 million jobs globally in the next five years, but also eliminate 83 million jobs.

This is an indication for Employers to develop a skills development strategy to ensure their workforce possesses the necessary skill set to effectively operate digital technologies in addition to retaining talent that cannot be replaced by technology in accordance with the European Union(EU) Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles adopted in 2022 that highlights the EU’s commitment to secure, safe and sustainable digital transformation that puts ‘people at the centre’ in line with EU’s core values and fundamental rights.

At our recently concluded FUE-CEO Breakfast Meeting, the theme evolved around the Future of Work with AI that provided an opportunity for business leaders to gain valuable insights from seasoned business professionals, benchmark best practices and network. The meeting deliberations centered on significant benefits of AI including job creation, boosting productivity and improving workforce efficiency. We believe that Employers should embrace AI as a substantial tool at the workplace to support areas of finance, recruitment, performance management and data security in order to ease daily work operations and enhance employer competiteveness at local, regional and international level.

We look forward to the International Labour Conference slated for 3rd to 14th June 2024 to represent Employers’ views on pertinent employment issues and engage with other tripartite partners to achieve decent work for all.

Thank you,
Together for Employers.

Douglas Opio

The Chief Executive Officer, FUE

CONTENTS

1

THE FUE-CEO BREAKFAST MEETING

According to McKinsey Global Institute, Al, Robotics and other forms of smart automation have the potential to bring great economic benefits contributing up to $15 trillion to global GDP by 2030. On Friday 24th May, we convened the FUE-CEO Breakfast Meeting at the Kampala Serena Hotel themed, ‘The Future of Work with Al’. The keynote speaker was Hon. George William Nyombi Thembo, the Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission. Business Leaders, CEOs and other relevant stakeholders were in attendance.

Mr. Douglas Opio, our Chief Executive Officer highlighted the need for Employers to adapt emerging technological trends in daily work operations to advance business growth. He reiterated the Federation’s commitment to promote a conducive business environment for organisations to compete favorably at global level.

In the keynote presentation, Hon. George William Nyombi Thembo implored business leaders to embrace AI tools to facilitate faster decision making, ensure effective data management and boost productivity at the workplace. He advocated for organisations to develop stringent policies on data privacy and security, re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce to handle digitalisation and the need to understand the impact of AI on various roles within the organisation.

Additionally, Grant Thornton Uganda shared a detailed presentation on ,’Strategies for Sustainable Growth and Improved Profitability’ with emphasis on strategic partnerships, digital transformation and agile business models as key aspects for organisational growth.

We believe the discussions at the CEO Breakfast Meeting provided valuable learning opportunities for Employers and amplified the significance of AI in the world of work. It’s expedient for Employers to invest in capacity building for their workforce to fully benefit from AI.

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY

The National Labour Force Survey 2021 by Uganda Bureau of Statistics presents Uganda’s working age population at 23.5 million with Kampala hosting 64% of this group. On 1st May, the world commemorates International Labour Day to honor the contributions of working people in every industry and sector. This year the theme was, ‘Social Justice and Decent Work for All’ hosted in Fort Portal District for Uganda. His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was the Guest of Honor at the event attended by ministers, Members of Parliament, employers, workers representatives, the private sector and civil society groups.

President Museveni in his speech encouraged Employers to desist from acquiring casual labour and invest in proper contracts to improve livelihoods. He encouraged the youth and unemployed to explore job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities to curb high unemployment rates. Mr. Museveni further implored Ugandans to participate in commercial agriculture.

The FUE Chairperson, Eng. Dr. Silver Mugisha highlighted the challenges posed by the informal economy that accounts for 75% of the employment sector including poverty, tax evasion and lack of regulation. He called for collective efforts with other stakeholders to transform Uganda’s economy and promote commercialisation of agriculture.

During the celebration, the President awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal to FUE Governing Council Members Prof. Aaron Mushongyezi, Uganda Christian University, Esther Kyozira, NUDIPU, Michael Mugabi, Housing Finance Bank and Hassan Saleh, Multichoice. Congratulations to the medalists on this prestigious recognition and their immense contribution to sustainable development.

In order to build a robust economy, social partners are required to uphold the core principles of social justice namely access to resources, equity, participation, diversity and human rights. Let’s embrace these principles to achieve decent work for all!

REGIONAL TRAINING ON FINANCING DECENT WORK

The Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) participated at the regional training on, ‘Financing Decent Work’ organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with Enabel and the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat from 20th to 24th May 2024 at Coral Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam. Participants included officials from ILO, Enabel, EAC Secretariat, experts from relevant ministries and representatives of employers’ and workers’ organisations from the seven EAC Member countries Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The aim of the regional training was to develop a common understanding among national decision-makers from EAC Partner States on financing decent work and social protection under the framework of the Thematic Portfolio

Social Protection in Central Africa 2022-2026. Under the fore mentioned framework, Enabel in partnership with the Government of DRC, Government of Rwanda, and the Government Uganda is implementing a 5year Thematic Portfolio Social Protection (2022-2026).

The complexity of developing a broad, encompassing, and functional decent work system remains a challenge for the relevant institutions. Empowering policy makers to handle the complexities of their own employment and social protection systems must take into consideration their uniqueness and diversity in order to implement creative solutions suitable for their national contexts.

During the training, the following observations were made:

  • EAC Partner States generally allocate a small share of their GDP to decent work and social protection, typically between estimated at 0.7% and 2.6%, excluding health expenditures. This indicates a need for increased funding to adequately support vulnerable populations.
  • There are notable challenges in integrating social protection, employment and decent work objectives into national budgets and ensuring effective monitoring and evaluation. Issues such as lack of clarity in budget allocations, fragmented implementation, and weak coordination mechanisms hinder effective social protection delivery.
  • Proper classification of social protection expenditures is crucial for transparency and effective resource allocation. School feeding programs, for instance, are often classified under education despite their social protection benefits, while public works programs are typically classified as social protection due to their direct impact on employment and income support.
  • Strengthening the capacity of ministries, agencies, and stakeholders involved in social protection, employment, and decent work is essential. This includes training, institutional reforms, and better tools and frameworks for planning, budgeting, and implementation to ensure these programs are effectively managed and evaluated.
  • There is a strong need for harmonized social protection policies and coordination mechanisms at the regional level. EAC Partner States would benefit from shared standards, guidelines, and best practices, as well as collective advocacy for increased social protection funding to address common challenges such as poverty, vulnerability, and inequality.

At the end of the training, participants came up with recommendations for action at national and regional levels. The planned actions for Uganda in the next two years (2025-2026) include:

  • Constituting a Technical Working Group to scrutinize sector budgets with a view of understanding the level of integration of social protection and employment
  • Strengthening accountability for social protection in the existing and upcoming programmes
  • Developing a Monitoring and Evaluation framework for Decent Work and Social Protection initiatives.
  • Institutional strengthening and capacity building to Ministries and Agencies as well as CSOs that manage Social Protection and Decent Work; including tooling and retooling of these institutions
  • Strengthening partnerships with developing Partners on financing Social Protection and Decent Work including technical assistance
  • Undertaking capacity building tailored specifically on training of key stakeholders on programme-based budgeting
  • Convening National stakeholder meeting on financing Decent Work
  • Advocating for the mainstreaming social protection and employment in up in plans and budgets
  • Ministry of EAC to champion leadership, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) to lead on monitoring together with the social partners, while ILO and ENABEL should support the implementation of the recommendations
  • Participating in the reviewing of existing social protection policies and laws in line with a view of identifying gaps
  • Undertaking an in-depth study to make a business case for financing or investing in social protection

Recommendations at regional (EAC) level

  • EAC and Partners to conduct training and capacity building on financing the other decent work pillars (social dialogue and rights at work).
  • The EAC to conduct comprehensive studies and reviews of different social protection budgeting frameworks to identify best practices and innovative approaches. These insights can be used as benchmarks for improving Partner States’ systems.
  • The EAC and development partners should create platforms for knowledge exchange and peer learning among Partner States.
  • EAC to develop common standards, guidelines, or indicators to enhance regional coordination, collaboration, and harmonisation of social protection budgeting frameworks across the EAC region.
  • Enhance collective advocacy efforts to increase budgetary allocations for social protection programs. Partner States can work together to push for greater investment to address shared challenges such as poverty, vulnerability, and inequality.
  • Conduct regular capacity-building and social dialogues of stakeholders at the national level on Social Protection, Decent Work, and Labour Migration.
  • EAC and development partners need to mobilise resources to develop and implement a suitable financing strategy for decent work and social protection.

EMBRACING CORPORATE GOVERNANCE FOR GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES TRAINING

In the evolving labour market, corporate governance is a prerequisite for organisational growth. On 15th and 16th May, we conducted a general training to enlighten Employers on the topic, ‘Embracing Corporate Governance for Good Business Practices in Uganda’. The main purpose of the training was to equip Employers with knowledge and skills to implement effective corporate governance within their organisations, fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and sustainable growth. Participants included Senior Managers, Business Leaders and Compliance managers.

The training entailed a comprehensive understanding of corporate governance principles and learning how to create a customised governance code for a company. Participants developed an action plan tailored to address identified gaps in your organisation’s governance practices. There were also practical sessions to discuss risk management strategies, benchmark from other organisations and network for future references.

It’s significant to constitute a robust corporate governance system that can propel the organisation to great heights.

To request a customised training suited to your organisation needs, contact Yusuf Nsubuga, the FUE Training Manager, yusuf.nsubuga@fuemployers.org

MALKIA 2024 INTAKE

FUE in partnership with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation(ITC-ILO) is delighted to conduct another intake for the Malkia Course.

Applications are still open for the Malkia 2024 Intake that will start in July. Employers are encouraged to enroll female management staff for this extraordinary training opportunity.

Sign up here: https://oarf2.itcilo.org/EMM/A1717732/en
by 14th June 2024.

For inquiries contact info@fuemployers.org | 0392 777 410.

FUE E-NEWSLETTER ADVERTS

Exciting news!

As an Employer you now have an extraordinary opportunity to advertise your products and services in the FUE E-Newsletter.

Advertising in our newsletter guarantees maximum visibility reaching over 3000 email subscribers comprising business professionals in various sectors of the economy at local, regional and international level.

A full-page advert costs 500,000 Uganda Shillings only. Book your slot and preferred month to advertise now!

For more information and advert placement contact info@fuemployers.org | 0392 777 410.

FUE STAFF COMMENTARY

PROMOTE CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES

“Successful people have a social responsibility to make the world a better place and not just take from it”, says Carrie Underwood, an American country singer, songwriter and actress. While Ashwin Muthiah, the Founder Chairman of AM Group of Companies in Singapore says, “Businesses built on societal trust are the key to sustainable and responsible growth”.

The concept of corporate sustainability has emerged as a guiding principle for organizations across industries to implement new strategies to meet their goals. According to the publication by Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management and ABC Sauder School of Business (2023), corporate sustainability is a holistic approach to conducting business while achieving long-term environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

The broader impacts of business operations on external factors are taken more into account as opposed to a solely profit-driven strategy. Through this way, businesses recognize that their actions can have profound consequences on the world and therefore they make effort to minimize negative impacts while actively contributing to positive societal change and continuous corporate growth. Corporate sustainability practices are in the context of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices which many organisations have, in the recent years started to integrate into their operations and business strategies.

The term ESG can be described as a set of practices, policies, and procedures that organisations implement to limit the negative impacts while enhancing positive impact on the environment, society, and governance bodies. It was coined in 2004 by the Global Compact – an UN initiative that encourages global corporations to sign on and commit to responsible business practices in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and corruption. It serves as a valuation technique by organisations which takes into account environmental, social and governance issues for responsible and ethical business conduct.

This then begs the question: Why does ESG matter? When a business contributes to environmental (ecological) disaster, or has poor labor practices, or governance scandals, it would not only harm its reputation but also negatively impact on its net income. So, the existence of good practices at workplace can attract investors, enhance brand value, and drive long-term growth (Tractian Technologies Inc., 2022).

ESG is related to Corporate social responsibility (CSR), but two terms do not mean the same thing. Whereas CSR is a business model that drives companies to develop and implement socially responsible programs to bring a positive impact on the community while maximizing profit, ESG on the other hand, is the criteria for assessing the corporations’ impact and initiatives towards being socially responsible.

According to a study conducted by the International Finance Corporation, and another by the Capital Group on ESG Global, investments following Corporate Governance criteria showed higher financial and economic returns. Similarly, Price Waterhouse Coopers, a multinational accounting and auditing firm that is headquartered in London, revealed in their study that was conducted 2021 in the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany and India that 76% of the consumers (said they) would stop buying from companies that treat poorly the environment, employees, or the community in which they operate.

So, the holistic approach to the “Social” aspects of Environmental, Social, and Governance demonstrates that businesses are driven by more than just profits, but also they are about people. As already mentioned, the three primary pillars or elements of corporate sustainability practices are known as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) as expounded below:

  • Environmental element focuses on such areas as energy usage and efficiency, waste reduction, minimizing of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint reduction and climate change mitigation strategy.
  • Social element encompasses on considerations that are related to employees, communities, customers, and other stakeholders. Such things like fair and living wage, equal employment opportunity, employee benefits, workplace health and safety, community engagement, responsible supply chain partnerships, and adhering to labour laws.
  • Governance element is concerned with areas like corporate governance, risk management, compliance, ethical business practices, avoiding conflicts of interest, accounting integrity and transparency.

Therefore, embracing and promoting ESG can result in a plethora of benefit to the organization such as improved reputation, increased competitive advantage in form of cost savings, innovation, and access to new markets through leveraging corporate sustainability with other companies in the same industry, mitigation of risk, enhanced stakeholder relations (with customers, employees, investors, and communities) by fostering trust that can lead to long-term partnerships including in attracting and retaining the best talent, plus environmental benefits resulting from biodiversity preservation, and the mitigation of threats like climate change, (Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management and ABC Sauder School of Business 2023).

Since ESG is increasingly becoming the backbone of modern business and investment strategies, we ought as employers to promote sustainable practices and ethical governance at workplace. Addressing ESG factors often yields multiple positive outcomes which open doors to a more responsible and successful future. Indeed, as Phil Harding rightly cautioned, “Without environmental sustainability, economic stability and social cohesion cannot be achieved”.

By Patrick Ajuna, Policy and Research Officer

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