Editor's Comment

Youths should pay back funds


GOVERNMENT has once again shown goodwill towards the youth in helping them with the Youth Empowerment Fund.
The youth are the ones who are expected to one day ascend to leadership and carry out development plans that Government is putting in place.
Hence, initiatives like the Youth Empowerment Fund are meant to prop them and prepare them financially so that from an early stage, they are able to contribute to national development.
The youth are still energetic and they may have better ideas that are in conformity with the current trends, such as the innovations that are taking place in information technology.
There are a number of youths who have gleaned rare opportunities to set up enterprises in this sector and today their business are flourishing.
In recognition of their contribution, Government initiated the fund so that those who have workable ideas can access funding and earn a livelihood out of their enterprises as well as contribute to the growth of the economy.
As they run their business, they employ other people and in this way, there is a reduction in poverty levels. The employees’ livelihoods improve as well.
This is why Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili is urging them to grow their businesses so that their contribution to economic growth is evident.
This will also encourage Government to bring in more youth and given them a chance at entrepreneurship.
However, what is of paramount importance is to remember that this is the very idea Government initiated the funds. More youths have to be brought on board.
This, therefore means that these funds are not for free. Those who get them are expected to use them to establish their businesses and pay back to Government.
For how else will the other youth be recipients if those who get the funds are not paying back?
It is disappointing, in a number of cases, to hear people talk about handouts to Government, without realising that Government itself has to spend to give out anything to its citizens.
Times have changed. The era of freebees is past and this is the reality that everyone should embrace.
While Government has an obligation to its citizens, we also have a responsibility to preserve, like in this case, government funds so that others benefit.
Let us not forget that Government has a huge responsibility towards its citizens, as we have seen in the number of projects that have come up.
There are new roads, schools are still being built, hospitals are coming up and a lot of other infrastructure that is necessary for the nation’s development.
In all these projects, Government is spending huge amounts of money which have to be paid back to the co-operating partners.
The Youth Empowerment Fund is only a small segment among Government’s competing needs.
Dr Kambwili is right when he notes that this fund can help as many youths as possible to become entrepreneurs. And this is Government’s vision.
He was speaking when he handed over buses to some youths in Kitwe where he urged them to grow their businesses and pay back loans so that others can benefit from the Initiative.
The co-operation of those who are beneficiaries is cardinal in ensuring the success of this scheme if we have to see our youth breaking through the shackles of poverty to a better livelihood.
Those who have been fortunate to access the funds should therefore be responsible and pay back to help make Government’s vision a reality.
This should not only end with the current beneficiaries. The onus is on the beneficiaries to keep their part of the contract.
We also want to urge Government to institute measures against those who will not pay. Like in any contract, a breach means that consequences follow.
With the assurance from Dr Kambwili that those who will demonstrate good business acumen will receive more funds, surely, why would one want to squander an opportunity like this one.
Some people who do not fall within this bracket have a hard time sourcing capital for their projects. This is a golden opportunity for the youth. But they also have a chance to contribute to economic development and the world looks up to them.

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