By Henry Sekanjako and Gloria Nakajubi
The Government has earmarked sh265b to empower the poor and unemployed youth countrywide in new a programme dubbed Youth Livelihoods Programme.
This was announced as Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the international youth day today under the theme "Investing in Youth Livelihood; a pathway to achieving Vision 2040."
The five year youth programme is targeting unemployed youth mainly school dropouts aged between 18 -30 years.
Unveiling the programme to the national youth council, at Collins Hotel Mukono, the Permanent secretary in the ministry of gender, labour and social development Pius Bigirimana said the youth subscribing to different groups will be given interest free loans to start up productive income generating businesses.
Unlike the youth capital venture fund, this youth livelihoods programme does not require the youth to provide any security to access the sh265 billion. The programme starts in this financial year, if it gets the final approval from the Parliament, according to Bigirimana.
Addressing a press conference at the Media Centre in Kampala on Friday, Ronald Kibuule, state minister for Youth and Children's Affairs, explained the reasons for a new youth support programme.
Kibuule stated that many youth were complaining that the existing Youth Venture capital was inaccessible due to the many conditions.
The Youth Venture Capital programme is administered through designated commercial banks and the money attract concessional interest rate. Beneficiaries can also secure between shs5m and shs25m.
Kibuule said in total Government has earmarked sh400bn to support youth employment ventures starting this financial year.
HOW WILL THE PROGRAMME WORK?
Bigirimana, explained that under the new programme, each youth project will be allocated up to sh12.21m which will only be paid back after the project has generated profits equivalent to the loan initially advanced to a particular youth group.
"A total of shs53 billion will be provided in the budget every financial year to support the programme," Bigirimana said.
Funding will be available to the youth to invest in various sectors and economic activities including Bakery, Video-audio editing, dairy production, poultry, piggery, improved goats, carpentry , bicycle repair , shoe making /repair , metal fabrication, honey production, post-harvesting handling, among other income generating ventures. The programme also has a component for vocational skills development.
Youth groups whose membership is between 10-15 members will be targeted and beneficiary selection will be conducted through the community mechanism in sub counties.
For any youth group to access the funding, it must have at least a physical address, a three years' work plan and projected cash flow, and must have an account with a reorganized commercial bank. At least 30% of members will have to be female.
The funds will be disbursed directly from the district youth livelihoods programme account to the individual youth project accounts managed by the youth project management committees.
Bigirimana said it is planned for the programme to be monitored by the Inspectorate of Government to ensure accountability and transparency.
The youth leaders welcomed the new programme. "I applaud ministry of gender for this project it will help the youth fight poverty and also generate income at household level," said Evelyn Anite youth MP Northern region.
Govt starts news sh265b for youth fund