BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
ZIMBABWEAN youths remain the most vulnerable persons in the country due to high unemployment coupled with the economic levels, Parliament has said.
This came out in a report on the 2021 National Budget tabled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport and Arts chaired by Chivi North MP Mathias Tongofa (Zanu PF) which was presented last Thursday in the National Assembly.
Youths constitute 67% of the country’s total population and most of them are not formally employed.
“Youth programmes have been either neglected or underfunded, thus perpetuating the vulnerability of this special group of population. As a government, addressing aspects negatively impacting on youth alone would imply dealing with 67% of the challenges affecting our population,” Tongofa said.
“Youths constitute about 67% of Zimbabwe’s population, but they remain largely vulnerable due to various challenges; including high levels of unemployment, lack of access to low-cost funding for projects, market distortions as well as limited opportunities to participate in economic decision making,” he said.
Tongofa said lack of youth funding by government was a threat to attaining Vision 2030 as young people were facing challenges in accessing low-cost funding from financial institutions which forced them to resort to borrowing from unofficial sources of finance (chimbadzo) which charges them exorbitant interest rates.
He said government needed to design empowerment programmes in the form of grants rather than loans.
“Creation and resourcing of a Youth Development Fund, similar to the Women Development Fund becomes imperative. This fund should be adequately resourced,” he said.
In their recommendations, the committee said a youth desk must be set up in all ministries for purposes of championing youth activities and programmes.
The committee also recommended that government must adopt a policy to ensure that youths were represented in all boards of State enterprises and parastatals.
The Youth ministry got an allocation of $3,49 billion in the 2021 National Budget.
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