THE Matabeleland Youth Fund indaba is set for tomorrow ostensibly to unlock funding mechanisms for youths in the region, an official said yesterday.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business yesterday, Zimbabwe Youth Council Matabeleland North provincial manager Francis Hungwe said all was set for the indaba.
Hungwe urged local youths to attend the gathering to be held in Bulawayo at the Hope City Church in partnership with the Zimbabwe Youth Council.
“The indaba brings together youths, chief executive officers from CABS, Stanbic, IDBZ, Old Mutual and Bulawayo City Council with honourable Justice Mayor Wadyajena, the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio on youth and economic empowerment committee as the guest of honour,” Hungwe said.
“Let’s come in our numbers to unlock funding mechanisms for youths in Matabeleland. We have called financial institutions together to hear from them what they could do for the young people of Matabeleland. We wish to know how much they are able to offer. We have invited Bulawayo City Council to know what they have for young people in terms of development. We therefore encourage young people, especially in Matabeleland to come and participate.” He added that the government had a number of programmes for the youths but these lacked funding.
Last month, the parliamentary portfolio committee on the youth, indigenisation and economic empowerment heard that the youth loan funds were looted with some beneficiaries misrepresenting their ages and addresses, an indication that they intended to avoid paying back.
Some of the beneficiaries got more than cut-off amounts of $10 000.
Banks have so far received applications worth $14 million and only projects worth $5,7 million have been approved.
Of the 289 projects approved, 226 were from Harare and Mashonaland provinces while Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces had 49 projects, the Midlands 12, Manicaland two and Masvingo three.
However, Matabeleland youth organisations said they were not happy with reports of massive looting of funds with authorities taking “two years to pick up some glaring discrepancies”.
The scheme is aimed at helping reduce youth unemployment in the country as well as stimulate economic growth, but opposition parties claim the programme only benefits Zanu PF members.