UGANDA: FRANCISCO BASOOMYE WAVES GOODBYE TO UNEMPLOYMENT IN A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH

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Eng. Francisco Basoomye (BSc. Eng, CBE)

[Business Profile]

“Are you surprised to find out that I am actually a young man you are meeting for the first time instead of the business executive you were expecting to meet?”

“I had to travel a total of 782 kilometers, all the way from Kisoro in western Uganda, to come to Gulu in the night in order to keep our appointment. Although I own a car, I don’t like driving long distances”.

“We had just about 1.2 million Uganda shillings (about US$300 dollars) in total, but which was enough to register our company. We didn’t have the money to rent an office but we got an architect who knew us and he connected us to a client who wanted to build an apartment in Kampala. It was by trust that he allowed us to work on his apartment where the total cost of our labor was 700 million Uganda shillings (about (us$189,000 dollars). That marked the beginning of our success in business”

GULU-UGANDA: Young Francisco Basoomye is busy preparing for his graduation after successfully completing his final examination in civil engineering at Kyambogo University. He has just checked the mechanical condition of his most loved car, Mazda Demio - registration number UAN 378 M for work on his graduation slated for Saturday December 15, 2018.

Graduating in civil engineering is not Basoomye's first highway to flying success. He is highly successful too in Business. Born in Nakulyaku village in Kamuli district in eastern Uganda on September 23, 1990, Basoomye still lives in a $139 dollar rented house in Kampala, but is already planning to construct his own house in the suburbs of Kampala. He estimates that he will spend about $62,000 dollars by the end of 2019.

He began his career in civil engineering as a Diploma student at the Mbale-based Elgon Technical College, also in eastern Uganda between 2010 and 2012; and with that Diploma certificate he joined Kyambogo University in 2014 and wrote his last examination in early 2018.

After completing his Diploma he worked as a Safety Officer with an Indian construction company called Seyani Brothers (U) Limited which is a Kampala-based company, from 2012 to 2013. “My first work at a construction company was to ensure that the workers wear safety gear regularly”, says Mr. Basoomye, during an interview in Gulu City on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

He is a simple man who wears a smile whenever he is speaking. Small bodied, one can easily mistake him for one of those idle youths who spend most of their time on social media chatting on WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook because they are unemployed.

I located him when he had just finished his lunch in Home Town restaurant along Andrea Olal Road. He saw me at the door of the restaurant when my number flashed on the screen of his mobile phone.

“Are you surprised to find out that I am actually a young man you are meeting for the first time instead of the business executive you were expecting to meet?”, he asks by way of welcome, adding, “I had to travel a total of 782 kilometers, all the way from Kisoro in western Uganda, to come to Gulu in the night in order to keep our appointment. Although I own a car, I don’t like driving long distances.”

He is in Gulu City to supervise a World Food Program contract for constructing rub holes for food storage at the World Food Program Warehouse in Layibi Division at 94 Million Uganda shillings (about $25,400 US Dollars).

He says after working with many employers he realized he could not save enough money to achieve his dreams in establishing his own business. So, while still pursuing his first degree in civil engineering, he partnered with a village mate and colleague in university, Mr. Edward Malege to register a business company called MEAK Construction & Engineering Services (U) Limited in March, 2015. He is the Operations Director while his colleague is the Managing Director of the company.

“We had just about 1.2 million Uganda shillings (about $300 dollars) in total, but which was enough to register our company. We didn’t have the money to rent an office but we got an architect who knew us and he connected us to a client who wanted to build an apartment in Kampala. It was by trust that he allowed us to work on his apartment where the total cost of our labor was 700 million Uganda shillings (about $189,000 dollars). That marked the beginning of our success in business”, he says.

He has no dream of leaving the comfort of Kampala city life soon as he plans to grow real estate development and construction-related businesses like metal fabrication, wood work and making interlocking blocks normally put in parking yards.

With a young family of a wife and two children, Basoomye says he will think of agriculture much later in life when his business stabilizes.

Uganda’s leading independent daily, The Daily Monitor reported on July 4, 2018 that according to a finding of the African Development Bank, 83% Percent of youth in Uganda are unemployed while a figure from the 2014 Uganda National Census puts 58% percent of people in productive age (14 to 64 years) as unemployed.

The youth are rightfully crying for employment opportunities; others like Basoomye are not waiting for employment in the public sector but using their skills and training to create their own jobs.

“I would say that the financial return in a private investment is not certain but they are definitely more than in any [public] employment. When you get contract, you earn good money to offset the losses of employment, but it comes with pressure and hard work and long hours to achieve your objectives”, concludes the young entrepreneur.

 

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