Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu district authorities have attributed the low recovery of Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) loans from various youth groups to the lack of funds.
The district received 695.4 million Shillings between 2014 and 2018 for the program targeting 87 youth groups in 12 sub-counties.
However, according to records, only 151.7 million Shillings disbursed over the years has been fully recovered from only three youth groups.
The Youth Livelihood Programme Focal point person for Gulu District, Andrew Onen says the district last made a recovery of the money from the various youth groups in 2018 citing financial challenges.
He says the government had been disbursing operation funds to the district which are later allocated to sub-county officials to aid in tracing and recovery of the fund.
According to Onen, ever since the government stopped remitting the operation fund, the district hasn’t made moves to trace the groups and recover loans since it can’t afford to foot facilitation for the sub-county officials.
Onen says they have a big challenge in recovering the fund from the various youth groups since some of them are no longer in existence adding that their contacts are also not available.
He notes that although they have set up plans on reaching out to some of the youth groups to sensitize them on the benefit of returning the money, they are limited to implementing the activities because of lack of finances.
The LCV chairperson Gulu, Christopher Opiyo Atekere says that the district made a requisition for operation funds to the government for both YLP and Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP).
He says they expect the funding to be released in the third quarter to facilitate the recovery process.
Ateker notes that they are planning to conduct fresh verification of the youth groups who received the money in all the sub-counties arguing that there are reports that some of them were ghost groups that never existed.
According to the Auditor General Report of 2022, the government is yet to recover 127.8 billion Shillings out of 164.9 billion Shillings disbursed to various youth groups across the country under YLP ever since the program commenced in 2014/15 FY.
According to the Audit report, only 30.02 billion Shillings had been recovered by June 30 last year.
The report indicates the districts of Kyankwanzi, Kotido, and Kazo were the best performing with a 60 percent recovery. However, the districts of Bugweri, Lamwo, Abim, and Tororo Municipal Council recorded the lowest recovery of the fund at only 5 percent.
The Auditor General, John Muwanga in the audit report, however, highlighted that the outstanding amount may not be recovered in a timely manner given the slow progress of recovery.
He attributed the low recovery to the disintegration of the various groups, non-funding of monitoring and supervision activities, and staff capacities in the Local governments and Gender Ministry.
“In order to improve on the performance of the recoveries, MOGLSD has suggested sensitization of the district leaders, the development of a database of defaulting groups to be forwarded to investigative organs of government for follow-up, and availing additional funding to compliant groups to encourage others to pay back,” says Muwanga.
The Youth Livelihood Program commenced in the 2013/14 Financial year with the aim of providing affordable credit through an interest-free revolving fund to Youth in the country.