Treasury to stop bankrolling youth fund

MASVINGO - Treasury is stopping bankrolling the National Youth Fund this year amid transparency concerns in the manner the cash has been disbursed by the ministry of Youth, a junior minister has said.

Deputy Youth Minister Tongai Matutu told the Daily News government, through the ministry of Finance, was contemplating stopping the partisan allocations of the funds amid reports youths who have benefited from the fund were failing to pay back to the revolving fund.

Matutu said the fund, meant to give youth loans to engage in self help projects, was hijacked by Zanu PF.

“This year, chances of getting the fund are slim as the Finance ministry has indicated that it is not willing to avail it because of the manner in which the funds were handled and distributed last year,” Matutu said.

“The process lacked transparency and accountability so the Finance ministry is not happy about it.”

Last year, government availed $10 million for youths, with each province getting $1 million.

Matutu said other provinces were sidelined and could not get their allocations.

“The other thing is that the fund was not shared equally in all the provinces,” he said.

“Mashonaland provinces, central east, west and Harare Province were the beneficiaries at the expense of others like Masvingo, Matabeleland and Manicaland so there was regionalism,” he added.

Matutu alleged there was partisan allocations.

“It was not important how viable your project was in disbursing of the fund but which party card you carried; that is why a few MDC youths got the funds while Zanu PF youth looted it,” he said.

Youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere admitted youths were failing to pay back the loans when he addressed a party youth conference at Victoria High School recently.

He threatened to name and shame party youths who were giving banks headaches to get loans paid back.

“We are having problems with beneficiaries who are not willing to pay back the loans. This should be a revolving fund and we will not hesitate to name and shame them, we will do so even in the press,” Kasukuwere said. - Godfrey Mtimba

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