OLD Mutual’s Kurera-Ukondla Youth Empowerment Fund has disbursed close to $2 million to 866 youths amid disclosures that some beneficiaries were abusing the funds.Report by Business Reporter
The $10 million fund was launched late last year as part of Old Mutual’s indigenisation and empowerment agreement with government.
In a trading update, Old Mutual said as of September 28, a combined total of $1 709 620 had been disbursed to 866 applicants.
“The youth fund is designed to create opportunities for youth empowerment, thereby ensuring their active participation in the mainstream economy. Participation of both genders across different sectors is therefore encouraged,” the company said.
By sector, 43% of the projects funded were under agriculture, distribution (31%), manufacturing (23%), services 11% and mining 1%.
According to the update, no applications for telecommunication, engineering, tourism and retail projects have been funded.
Zimbabwe Youth Council director Livingstone Dzikira last month told the local media during a training workshop that there was rampant abuse of the Youth Fund as most beneficiaries of the empowerment programme were using their allocations to pay bride price.
“Seventy percent of the funds disbursed have been abused by some youths who are using the empowerment funds to get married. This is why we have resorted to buying the goods directly for them,” Dzikira said.
“We have stopped taking proposals on chickens for some reasons and I can assure you this fund is there to help everyone. I have a list of some of your colleagues (journalists) who have benefited from the youth fund. It is open to everyone, but you won’t be exempted from coming up with business proposals like anyone else.”