Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the budget committee of Parliament have accused the government of deliberately killing the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) by denying the program funding.
The Youth Livelihood Programme was designed in the financial year 2013/2014 to respond to challenges of unemployment among the youth. Over 100 billion Shillings, has been injected in the Fund since its inception. This is out of an estimated budget of 265 billion Shillings that was earmarked to empower youth countrywide.
The programme targets unemployed youth aged between 18 and 30 years who secure between 5 and 25 million Shillings paid back after the funded project has generated profits equivalent to the value of the loan initially advanced to a particular youth group. The venture capital administered through banks attracts a concessional interest rate.
However, members of the Budget committee have slammed the programme as a total failure.
Koboko North MP Elly Asiku said that there was no information on how much of the money so far given out was still in circulation, adding that the funding has not reached several corners of the country.
Similarly, West Budama County North MP Richard Othieno noted that the project has failed miserably after youths were duped by officials into accepting amounts way lower than what they had signed for. He says many of the beneficiaries ended up in jail after failing to utilise the money.
Committee chairperson Amos Lugoloobi asked that the government should create a provision for low-interest loans to the youth through the Microfinance Support Centre. He added that revolving funds like ‘entandikwa’ and the Youth Livelihood Fund have not had any impact.
The Youth Livelihood Fund (YLF) programme was transferred from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to State House this financial year 2019/2020, following a presidential directive. According to the Ministry of Finance, up to 3.3 billion Shillings had been allocated for the programme.
The transfer sparked controversial statements from the Gender Ministry officials, many saying the move was an attempt to sabotage the Youth Livelihood Programme.
Last year, the former Minister for Gender Janat Mukwaya reported that the Youth Livelihood Programme’s recovery stood at 68 per cent after collecting 26.08 billion Shillings out of the 50.5 billion Shillings that was due.
Lugoloobi demanded that the Ministry of Gender needs to present parliament with a report on how the programme fund has performed.