The Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Council Mandela Kapera has reiterated the need to empower rural youths through project financing.
This comes after the youth representative council recently released a measly N$4000 to youths in Khorixas although the amount is not sufficient enough to make an impact.
Kapere told The Villager that, “it is not a matter of the loan amount being low, it is just the entry point to get the youth off the ground. We did not want the rural youth nor any other youth to feel completely excluded. Our objective is economic inclusion. Say if you loan a youth N$20 000 N$30 000, it might just create problems (sic)”.
He added that these youths would find it hard to pay back the loans, and will end up being blacklisted for not honouring the agreements. “It is just the entry point, the youths must understand the structures put in place for the programme”, Kapere said.
The program is supposed to empower these youths to start up their own businesses and uplift their communities, which is done by granting them a loan after successful training in money management.
The credit scheme was introduced in 2005 to eradicate poverty and unemployment. The loans were availed to 1 552 active youths last year, and more than 11 000 youths since it was introduced. Nationally, eight regions benefited when the scheme was introduced.
According to programme coordinator Helen Amutoko, the government did not include the programme in the 2015/2016 budget, but the scheme saved up money from the repayments.
"The scheme made N$40 000 in return, after the students paid in the previous year. Even though the government did not set aside any money for us last year, it is revolving at national level.Our savings are more than what the government set aside for the programme when it started. The youth must go to their respective offices and get the loans and start small businesses", Amutoko stated.
Recently, 27 youths from Khorixas received training to benefit from the credit youth scheme. The youths so trained are expected to pay back the loan after six months. Youths who are to start businesses from scratch qualify for a loan of N$4000, and youth who already own businesses get N$5000.
These youths will be progressing to the next level of the credit scheme, depending on how fast they pay back the loans.
“All we want from the youth is to come for training, then get a loan and pay back. The first loan is more than enough to start up a business for a single youth; you just have to be creative and start a business which will generate income, and get the second loan. The more you succeed in paying back, the more you stand a chance of getting to the next phase", she noted.
Lydia Sakeus, a Training and Employment officer based at Khorixas, told The Villager that youths who want to benefit from the loan should have a business idea which can generate an income.