Give Youth a Chance, Says Pohamba

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By Engel Nawatiseb BERG AUKAS President Hifikepunye Pohamba is on the move, this time around marking his third visit to Berg Aukas, the base of the National Youth Service where he re-assured the youth of government’s commitment towards providing the necessary resources for the expansion of youth programmes at the centre. He said the youth are the seedlings that could ensure that hunger is eradicated through initiatives that would enable them to feed the nation. “I wish to state that we believe in the untapped potential of our youth; we believe in your energy and in the positive contributions that you can make to the process of national, social and economic development. You must continue to be active participants in our march towards Vision 2030.” The President called upon stakeholders to create opportunities by opening doors and also to remove all barriers in order to contribute to collective national achievements. “We must give our youth a chance to shape the future.” Government has introduced several training pro-grammes to train the youth in various disciplines such as plumbing, carpentry, horticulture, bricklaying, building construction and others to ensure that school leavers gain marketable skills that can allow them to find employment or to start their own income-generating projects, creating employment for themselves and their fellow citizens. The President also took the opportunity to remind the youth that the national youth service can only be successful if all students at the centre are truly dedicated. “I am informed that several projects that are being implemented under the auspices of the National Youth Service have grown from strength to strength over the years and are now bearing fruit. This sort of growth is encouraging and an indication that our youth are taking their responsibilities seriously. My government is committed to helping all Namibian youth because the youth is the backbone of our nation.” President Pohamba was however not impressed by the stalemate that has stalled the construction of a dinning hall complex at the centre resulting from an electrical short circuit. It is believed that a fire occurred on the incomplete roof structure while workers of the unidentified contracting company were fixing matters. New Era was reliably informed that the costs incurred as a result of the blaze would be repaid to government. Reports related to indiscipline amongst several students at the centre also took centre stage during the President’s visit, prompting the visibly worried Head of State to caution the youth that development efforts by government would be undermined should leadership be sidelined by the intended beneficiaries. He encouraged the youth to respect instructions from leaders and to abide by the rule of the National Youth Service whose mandate has of late been expanded following the recent appointment of the board of directors. “I am confident that the board will work hard to ensure that the National Youth Service achieves its objectives in an efficient and transparent manner. I therefore urge the commissioner as well as other officials of the National Youth Service to work together with the board in ensuring that the values of honesty, integrity and hard work are respected at all times in carrying out your duties,” he urged. The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa expressed the need for the adaptation, adjustment and transformation of the physical infrastructure of the Berg Aukas youth development centre. The centre was reportedly conceptualized, constructed and developed as a mine before it was donated to government shortly after independence. Mutorwa stressed that the face-lift was necessary to adequately respond to the mandate of his ministry. “In order to achieve our objective, renovation and upgrading works of the kitchen, dinning hall, ablution blocks and dormitories have been ongoing.” The minister took issue with the slow pace of the construction and renovation process, stating that he does not see any point in recruiting new NYS trainees if the facilities they should use are incomplete. He stressed that the board will now start campaigning for sufficient funds from both local and foreign countries, including donors to ensure that proper and adequate infrastructural facilities are put up at the centre. Mutorwa further informed the President that the Public Service commission and its management has finalised and approved a properly worked out organisational staffing structure for implementation during the second half of this year. “Without qualified, trained, competent and experienced senior management to steer and manage the programmes of the youth on a daily basis, the successful implementation of our objectives, programmes and activities is not practically possible.” The head of the Berg Aukas centre also raised numerous shortcomings of the youth centre and pleaded with the Head of State to ensure that government addresses the prioritized activities. Minister of Defence General Charles Namoloh and his Chief of Staff Jesus Hawalah as well as the Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Pohamba Shifeta accompanied President Pohamba during his visit.