Government has started the process of identifying beneficiaries of loans which will be disbursed under the youth street vendors empowerment funds in Western Province’s Kaoma district.
The programme, which was initially launched in Lusaka, Copperbelt and Central provinces last year, is being collaborated by the government, the United Street Vendors Foundation (USVF) and the Zambia Postal Services Limited (Zampost).
United Street Vendors Foundation (USVF) Kaoma district committee secretary Alick Kalimbwe told ZANIS in an interview that 55 youths from the district will benefit from the initiative after the committee scrutinizes loan requests they have received.
Mr Kalimbwe said that the youth street vendors’ empowerment funds will be given to young people with entrepreneurial skills so that they can venture in income generating activities that will eventually help them to become self-sustained.
He said that the USVF district committee has received overwhelming response with over 350 youths expressing their interest in accessing the soft loans and the process of identifying eligible beneficiaries has started.
Mr Kalimbwe said that the youth street vendors’ empowerment fund is a government-financed programme that is non-partisan which was created out of the realisation that most youths in the country are in the informal sector selling on the streets.
He said that the Kaoma USVF district committee has adopted a strict scrutiny process to ensure that only eligible beneficiaries obtain the loans that will help boost their businesses and only those who are currently running small business will get the credits.
However, PF Kaoma district vice youth publicity secretary Maliande Lipoba has expressed dissatisfaction with the selection criteria the Kaoma USVF district committee is using in selecting beneficiaries of the youth street vendors’ empowerment funds.
Mr Lipoba accused the Kaoma USVF district committee of partiality in the selection process alleging that bona fide beneficiaries are being left out at the expense of friends and relatives an assertion Mr Kalimbwe, who is also Kaoma PF youth chairman, denied.
The Kaoma USVF district committee members include Kingford Nasilele (coordinator), Alick Kalimbwe Secretary (secretary), Edinah Kalimbwe (treasurer), Monica Pelekelo (gender coordinator), with Mishengo Mishengo and Kabayo Simanga as security coordinator and programmes coordinator respectively.