The Zimbabwe Unemployed People’s Association (Zupa) has proposed European Union (EU) partner the government in setting up a $150 million unemployment benefit fund.
In submissions made to the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last week, association president Innocent Ndibali said the fund would alleviate unemployment and help set up self-help projects.
“Our members have been compiling project proposals to assist them out of poverty. There is however, no capital for start-ups and the banks are not willing to extend lines of credit to our members due to lack of collateral security,” said Ndibali.
“Zupa is proposing that a Zupa fund be set up to tune of $150 million where half will be used as grants for small businesses and the other half will be used as security for unemployed Zimbabweans to access loans from participating banks,” he said.
Ndibali said the $150 million figure was premised on the size and nature of projects proposed by members of the association.
“During the National Budget consultations, the Ministry of Finance proposed a ‘job fund’ for Zimbabwe. Given that 90% of Zimbabweans are believed to be out of employment, Zupa considers the resourcing of the proposed job fund to be of utmost importance for the recovery of Zimbabwe.
“We kindly ask the EU — should the government of Zimbabwe approach you — to consider assisting Zimbabwe in respect of the job fund for the benefit of the millions of Zimbabweans who are eager to work,” he said.
The association also called on the EU to provide a market for products from Matabeleland to help the region recover from years of marginalisation.
“History will record that since independence, very little development has happened in Matabeleland compared to other parts of the country, ” Ndibali said.