Government has this year allocated 11.8 billion kwacha as Youth Development Fund (YDF)to the Ministry of Youth and Sport to be disbursed to deserving youth groups, associations and youth led entrepreneurs as loans and grants.
Youth and Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili says the fund is divided into two parts one being 6.7 billion kwacha for the loans and the other being 4 billion kwacha for the grants.
Mr. Kambwili has pointed out that the loans are available to youth groups, youth owned enterprises and youth owned cooperatives that will be involved in income generating activities in various priority sectors such as manufacturing, education, creative industries and health among others.
He adds that grants on the other hand are open to youth associations, youth NGOs and any other youth focused organizations whose work or activity contributes to the empowerment and mainstreaming of the youths.
The Minister says applicants for the youth development fund grants will be required to clearly demonstrate how the project will contribute to the empowerment, mainstreaming and participation of youths.
The Ministry Of Youth And Sports Has further Given Youth Empowerment Fund Debtors Two Months In Which To Start Paying Back What They Owe The Ministry Or Risk Being Prosecuted.
Mr. Kambwili Says After Two Months, His Ministry Will Also Publish Names Of Organisations And Companies Which Got The Money Under The Previous Regime And Have Failed To Pay Back As It Was Given On Part Lines.
Mr. Kambwili Says Out Of A Combined Loan Portfolio Of 4.1billion Kwacha From The 2012 And 2011 Allocations Of The Youth Development Fund, Only 110billion Kwacha Has Been Paid Back, Which Represents Repayment Rate Of Less Than 1 Percent.
He Also Says From The Total Of 10 Billion Given Out As Grants In 2010 And 2011, There Were No Proper Criteria For The Disbursement Of The Grants.
Mr. Kambwili Says The Funds Were Abused And Disbursed For Political Expedience And There Has Never Been A Significant Impact On The Empowerment Of The Youths So Far.
He Further Says Considering The Challenges That The Youth Development Fund Faced In The Past Under The Mmd, Government Is In The Process Of Establishing An Effective And Efficient Mode Of Managing The Fund.
Mr. Kambwili Says His Ministry Has Also Set Up An Inter-Ministerial Committee Comprising Members From The Line Ministries And Other Specialized Government And Non-Governmental Organisation With Expertise And Experience In Managing Citizen Empowerment Initiatives.And Mr. Kambwili Says For The Fund To Be More Transparent And Responsive To The Needs Of The Youths, His Ministry Has Also Created The Provincial Youth Development Fund Committees