Government should improve adequate funding for the education sector to halt protests and subsequent closures of public universities.
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe said the unemployment levels in Zambia had increased to desperate levels were young people were now resorting to suicide as a possible solution to their poverty situation.
He said young people in Zambia were very expectant of the 2014 budget on the strategies government has put in place to help improve Youth Empowerment Fund to encourage them contribute to national development.
“The problem of youth unemployment is now a time bomb for the government as it is not exceeding dangerous levels with the recent intentions for a young person to commit suicide at the Cabinet Office in Lusaka.
These are symptoms of desperation of the situation, and it could ne related to what triggered the Arab uprising where a young person put himself on fire in protest against hardships,” he said.
He said young people did not want a half-baked budget as was the case in 2012 that resulted from poor planning and lack of foresight on the part of government.
Ntewewe said there was need for government to be proactive.
Ntewewe said the Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda must ensure that there was enough funding to facilitate infrastructure development.
“We expect that the 2014 National Budget will provide adequate allocations and for increased collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and Education in order to better standards at the three public facilities such as hygiene and sanitation, supply of water and accommodation,” he said.
He explained that squatting, sleeping in churches and the delayed payment of students’ meal and book allowances was inhumane against successful academic accomplishments.
Ntewewe said even the skills training colleges should be given enough financial backing to improve service delivery and attract more young people to undertake expertise training in view of high unemployment levels in the country.
“We can not solve all the problems, but government should be seen to begin sorting out some of these problems by taking tangible steps like increasing funding to the colleges and the planned upgrading of the Zambia National Service (ZNS) youth skills training programmes to be effective and provide much needed skills for the young people,” he said.
He explained that very few young people were interested in skills training because of lack of adequate funding for the institutions to be good enough to attract unemployed youthful generation to take up the life skills.
He charged that there should be incentive based resources invested in the education sector at skills training level on order to be more attractive to the youth for the various industries.
And Ntewewe said young people should be given more money under the Youth Empowerment Fund to encourage investment and capital security for more people to access the support.
“K50,000 million is not adequate for the young people to share as capital investment, government should allocate more money to be used for youth empowerment,” he said.
Minister of finance Chikwanda is this Friday expected to present the 2014 National Budget to Parliament