In Tororo district, sh600m was given out to the youth but only 30% of the money has been recovered
Government has been asked to write off as bad debt money from the Youth Fund that has not been refunded because many youth are in hiding, fearing to be arrested.
The remarks were made by the Tororo district planning officer, William Mulabwa, who made the remarks while presiding over a meeting of youth organized by Plan Uganda on how to engage the youth in budget planning and monitoring at Esella Hotel in Wakiso district.
“The money given to the youth by government should be treated as a bad debt. Government did not consider training them before receiving the money which was poorly utilised and cannot be recovered,” Mulabwa said.
He said in in Tororo district, sh600m was given out to the youth but only 30% of the money has been recovered. He said they tried to make arrests only to fill prisons not knowing that the youth do not have money to pay back.
“When the youth were given the money, some thought it was a political gift to them. They did not expect issues of paying back to arise. Youth have so many issues cross cutting that you cannot get this money”, Mulabwa said.
The district reproductive health officer, Raymond Ruyoka, said most of the budget issues effecting the youth are normally from the local councils. He said MPs only look for developmental infrastructure without looking at the end users of the services.
Ruyoka said planning should be focused on a gender based approach to have budgets that cater for all the people with health being a key factor.
“Health is not normally treated with high value in the budget of our country and yet you find the youth making 78% of our population. Over 1.2 million people get pregnant when they are still young people,” Ruyoka said.
He added the issues of early pregnancies affect our economy lead to increase in lack of employment. Only sh2.2 trillion was given to the youth out of the sh29 trillion for the 2017/18 budget.
“More funds are needed to have advocacy health for the youth budgets to be increased. Emphasis on awareness is needed to fight HIV/AIDS which is on the rise in our communities. The issues of teenagers should be supported at the grassroots to have a healthy population” he added.
Lira youth councillor, James Omara, said there is need to put a mechanisms to monitor the budgets from the grassroots to reflect on the people’s needs.
“Parliamentarians need look at the people who are utilizing the facilities they are fronting before planning. Members of Parliament should engage the people at local level to get to actualize what the people need,” Omara said.