Government should ensure that management of the Youth Empowerment Fund is characterized with high levels of transparency and accountability, says Young African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe.
Mr Ntewewe said there has been a lot of unfairness in the management of the fund with many previous beneficiaries having been selected dubiously.
He said the fund was marred with high level corruption in the manner some people were selected for the programme.
“Our biggest concern is the absence of stakeholders during the disbursement process of the Fund because one thing is very clear that there is a lot of political interference in the selection of beneficiaries and allocation of funds,” he said.
He explained that the composition of the National Youth Council that was established to manage the programme was biased towards the ruling PF under the chairmanship of party diehard Dr Xavier Chishimba, the former PF Kasama Member of Parliament.
Mr Ntewewe said the current structure at the Council was basically a political tool of the PF, benefiting especially those aligned to the ruling party.
He explained that it was no wonder that even the Auditor General’s Report has indicated high level of misgivings in the non-compliance of the processes during the allocation of the funds.
“The Auditor General’s Report indicates that last year 41 youth groups received funding without properly following the laid down procedure which is a signal that there was something wrong in the management of the programme.
“We do not want a recap of what was captured in the Report, which is why we are calling for the involvement of other stakeholders in the disbursement of the Youth Fund,” he said.
He said with 90 percent of young people employed in the informal sector, government should urgently address the issue of job creation by providing funds to empower the youths.
He said that private financial institutions asked for excessive collateral or security on loans which young people could not afford, adding that however government should get involved.
“And with the high level borrowing, financiers are not giving money to private borrowers which calls on the government to be more aggressive in empowering the people with management skills to effectively run their investments and empower other people with an income,” he said.
He said government should that ensure adequate facilities and mechanisms were put in place to encourage skills training that supported proper management of youth investments and that also promoted confidence among the people.