Minister of Youth, Sport and Arts, Elvis Nkandu has launched the National Youth Empowerment Scheme in Northern Province.
Speaking during the launch in Luwingu District, Mr Nkandu said government has allocated K23 million in this year’s budget towards youth empowerment.
Mr Nkandu said the youth scheme is an initiative aimed at providing grants to vulnerable but viable youths to venture into income generating projects.
“The New Dawn Administration has increased support to youth empowerment with K23 million set aside in this year’s budget.” he said
The minister added that Northern Province becomes the first province to implement the initiative with 800 youths targeted to benefit from the fund.
He said 200 youths in each of the four benefitting districts namely Luwingu, Lupososhi, Lunte and Mporokoso will receive grants.
Mr Nkandu has since cautioned those in charge of administering the funds to ensure equity in the distribution process regardless of one’s political affiliation.
“These grants should not be politicized in anyway because they are meant for every youth, provided they are Zambians,” he said.
And Luwingu District Commissioner, Chomba Chileshe urged young people to use the funds for the intended purpose to enhance personal growth and contribute positively to development in their communities.
Mr Chileshe added that his office will keenly monitor the usage of the funds and beneficiaries in the district.
“From my office, we will ensure that we follow up on the activities you have proposed for the grants.” He said.
Meanwhile, one of the beneficiaries, Francis Bwalya an artist and trained secondary school teacher, who is also visually impaired, thanked government for the financial support.
Mr Bwalya said he will use the funds to advance his music career.
Another beneficiary, Ruth Mwenya who operates a restaurant said she will use the grant to boost her business.