Some youth groups in the country have commended government for increasing this year’s national youth development fund (YDF) by 60 per cent.
Speaking in separate interviews with ZANIS in Lusaka today, the youth groups said the increase would bring about a lot of benefits for young people in the country.
Government yesterday released KR19.1 million for the youth development fund, representing a 60 per cent increase from last year’s KR11.8 million.
Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili said when he announced the release of funds that this year’s allocation clearly indicated the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s commitment to the role of the youths in national development.
Socialist Youth Forum national coordinator Rezin M’gode said the increment was a positive development for the youth who will now have to embark on entrepreneurship ventures to benefit their communities.
Mr. M’gode has however advised government to prioritise rural areas in the allocation of the resources so as to ensure more people benefit from the funds.
And the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) has applauded the allocation saying the move will go a long way in addressing the youth unemployment challenges in the country.
YWCA Executive Director Patricia Ndhlovu said once young people are given incentives such as the development fund, they will be able to come up with income generating initiatives to secure employment for themselves and others.
Ms. Ndhlovu however urged government not to politicise the funds and ensure the money is provided to youths on a non-partisan basis.
She stated that a lot of awareness needs to be carried out to enable more youth to have an opportunity to benefit from the funds.
And Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe has said his organisation was very happy that government decided to increase the funding towards the youth empowerment in the country.
Mr. Ntewewe however called on government to engage honest stakeholders in the disbursement and distribution of the money.
He said this is to ensure that funds are given out accordingly.
He said the youth development fund was a good government programme.
Mr. Ntewewe however feared that the perceived lack of sensitisation and dialogue between stakeholders will cripple its impact.
Meanwhile, Chawama Youth Sports Academy Executive Coordinator Andrew Tembo has called on government to consider giving out more grants than loans this year as it distributes the youth funds.
Mr. Tembo said having more grants than loans will enable more social oriented youth groups benefit instead of those whose business models are centred on profits.
He said not all businesses have potential to raise profits immediately have the potential to improve the living standards of people in their communities.
Mr. Tembo challenged government to come up with an independent team to manage the funds adding that this will also lead to an ineffective recovery system.