By Jeff Andrew Lule
NTINDA, Kampala - Members of the National Youth Council (NYC) executive have expressed concern over the finance ministry’s failure to release the approved funds for the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) to be launched by President Yoweri Museveni this month.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing at their offices in Ntinda on Friday, NYC chairman, Samuel Kavuma said Parliament approved sh19bn for the programme to start with but were surprised when only sh6bn was released without any explanation.
“Because the financial year had already kicked off, Parliament approved sh19bn to start with and allocated sh12bn in the next financial year but only sh6bn has been released.
“This is very inappropriate because the amount is not even half of the approved funds,” he said.
In a move to fight poverty and unemployment among the youth, Parliament cleared sh265bn for the YLP, a five-year project.
Kavuma said the minister of gender, labour and social development, Mary Karoro Okurut wrote to the finance ministry over the matter but no explanation has been given yet.
He said following the failure of the youth programme in the past three years, they will not allow anyone to frustrate the youth programme again.
“This money will be sent to various sub-counties for easy accessibility and monitoring. This time we shall have supervisors to monitor these youth groups to make sure the funds are not misused,” he said.
He said they have already asked the ministry of finance to explain the matter before the end of the month.
“We have also notified all youth leaders across the country on the matter and we intend to camp at the finance ministry on February 3 if no explanation is made.”
The programme is to be implemented by the ministry of gender as the lead ministry, together with Local Government and the Office of the Inspector General of Government to ensure accountability of funds advanced to various targeted youth groups.
The programme targets more than 6.5 million youth aged between 18 and 30 in 112 districts around the country.
The youth council chairman emphasized that the project targets school dropouts, youth living in slums, high risk and impoverished communities; uneducated youth, single parents, youth with disability, youth living with HIV/Aids and graduates and those who have completed A-Level.
The Youth Livelihood Programme is responsive to the government’s Vision 2040 of transforming Uganda into a modern and prosperous country within 30 years.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), the labour force in the country has 4.4 million youth with about 32% of them jobless. Two million are illiterate and another two million are underemployed.