Youth, Sports and Arts Minister Elvis Nkandu has revealed that the government has only managed to recover about 3% to 4% of the K270 million that was given out as youth empowerment by the Patriotic Front (PF) government, highlighting the government’s struggles to recover funds that were meant to support Zambia’s youth.
The youth empowerment initiative was launched by the PF government in 2016, with the aim of providing loans to young people who wanted to start their own businesses. The government hoped that this initiative would create jobs and reduce youth unemployment, which has been a major problem in Zambia for many years.
However, the initiative has been plagued with problems from the start. Many of the young people who received loans did not use the funds to start businesses, and others simply disappeared without paying back the money. As a result, the government has been struggling to recover the funds, which were supposed to be used to support more young people.
Nkandu’s revelation that only 3% to 4% of the funds have been recovered has led many to feel that the government has failed in its duty to protect public funds. The Minister, however, has assured the public that the new dawn government will use other avenues to recover the money if those who got empowerment loans do not pay back by the end of this year.
“We are determined to recover the money that was given out as youth empowerment, and we will use all the tools at our disposal to do so,” Nkandu said. “We have already started working with the banks to track down those who have not paid back the loans, and we will take legal action against anyone who refuses to pay back the money.”
The Minister has also called on young people who received loans to come forward and start paying back the money. He said that the government is willing to work with those who are struggling to repay their loans, but those who are deliberately avoiding repayment will face legal action.
In addition to the youth empowerment funds, Nkandu also addressed the issue of the fuel tankers that were bought by the government but have not been used. The Minister denied claims that the tanks had been abandoned, saying that his ministry is working to find a suitable use for them.
“We are currently exploring different options for the fuel tankers, including leasing them out to private companies or using them for government operations,” Nkandu said. “We are committed to finding a solution that will benefit the people of Zambia and ensure that the tanks are put to good use.”
The news about the recovery of the youth empowerment funds has highlighted the need for stronger measures to protect public funds in Zambia. Many Zambians have called for stricter regulations to be put in place to ensure that government money is used properly and that those who misuse public funds are held accountable.
The government has promised to take action to address the issue, and Nkandu has urged young people to come forward and work with the government to ensure that the funds are recovered. However, it remains to be seen whether the government will be able to recover the majority of the funds that were given out as youth empowerment loans.
In response to the ongoing challenges of recovering the youth empowerment funds, the Zambian government has announced plans to review and improve the youth empowerment initiative. The government is committed to ensuring that the funds are used to support young people in starting businesses and creating jobs, and that the loans are repaid in a timely manner. The review process will involve consultations with stakeholders and experts in the field of youth entrepreneurship, and will aim to identify areas for improvement and strategies to ensure the success of the initiative in the future.