Editor's Comment

Defaulting youth breaking chain of development

ACTING President Ngosa Simbyakula presents an award to Janet Fredman, the first prize winner of the Young Entrepreneurs Expo, as Minister of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale looks on during Youth Day celebrations at Freedom Statue in Lusaka recently. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU.

THE youth are always crying out to Government for financial assistance to start various projects as an option to earn a livelihood and in a way contribute to national development.
Times are hard and everyone wants to be engaged in some gainful activity, and when it comes to the youth, it is a welcome idea that they can raise their voice to seek financial assistance.
Government, on its part, has not remained mute to the demands of the youth, whose potential to contribute to national development is immense.
In response to their cries, Government has created a number of facilities, among them the Youth Empowerment Fund, to enable them access money for their projects.
Apart from this, Government, through parliamentary constituencies, provides the Constituency Development Fund, which is an avenue for the youth to carry out viable projects as a way of alleviating poverty and earning a livelihood.
Now, when we hear reports that some youths who accessed funding in 2012 have not paid it back, we get concerned because, by their action, they are breaking the chain of development.
At the same time, they are stifling the efforts that Government has put in place for their own good.
On Wednesday, North-Western Province Youth Co-ordinator Damiano Chishimba appealed to the youth who got loans in the province to pay them back.
He said Government has been struggling to recoup the loans disbursed to the youth in 2012 and in 2013, though the recovery rate for the 2014 loans is encouraging.
He disclosed that out of a total of K716,000 disbursed in 2012, Government only managed to recover  about K109,605.
This kind of recovery rate raises a lot of concern. Those who fail to honour their side of the contract should know that they are abrogating the law. They entered into a contract with Government and committed themselves to paying back the loans.
It is criminal that now after they have been empowered, they should fail to pay back the loans. They should also realise that Government has gone that far in ensuring that they access the loans for their projects.
The funds Government provides are not gratis. They are meant to be a revolving fund so that other youth can also access them. The process of development should not end with those who acquired loans in 2012 and 2013.
There are a number of projects which  more youths are contemplating and such funds  are just what they need to kick-start them.
We urge Government to pursue the youth who have abrogated the contract so that they are brought to book. All too often, such trends are perpetuated because the youth have no examples to learn from.
The tendency to view Government assistance as ‘manna from above’ is long gone and only stern measures against defaulters will deter this attitude.
Anyone who fails to pay should be visited by the law so that others learn from there and become compliant with their contracts.

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