Declining budgetary allocations to the Directorate of Youth Development in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service has impacted on the number of unemployed youth being trained by government.
It has come to light that four youth skills training centres under the ministry trained and graduated 117 youths fewer than in the previous financial year.
According to Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Jerry Ekandjo the variance is due to outdated training equipment and machinery, which could not be replaced owing to declining budgetary allocations in the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
He explained there are currently 16 operational multi-purpose youth resource centres countrywide providing short courses, ranging from three to six months in basic computer literacy, tailoring and dressmaking, as well as hospitality and catering.
During the 2015/16 financial year 1 649 unemployed and out-of-school youth were trained at these centres, which amounts to 84 trainees fewer than in the previous financial year before the budget cuts.
Ekandjo blamed outdated training equipment, such as computers and sewing machines, which could not be replaced due to a lack of funds.
Youth Credit Scheme
Regarding the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme (NYCS) Ekandjo informed MPs that it aims to create a conducive environment under which potential youth entrepreneurs could be empowered with skills training and credit facilities.
This is to enable them to positively contribute to the country’s socio-economic development and under this Scheme 1 080 youth were trained during the last financial year, increasing the total number of beneficiaries to 10 925.
In the meantime, the scheme is in the process of arranging payments of loans to 2 280 youth during the current this year, as well as to train 100 prospective beneficiaries per region over the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
Capital projects for youth
On capital projects, Ekandjo said there are currently 16 capital projects under this directorate in different stages of completion, due to limited funds available to the directorate in particular and the ministry in general, with seven projects prioritised for the 2016/17 financial years.
These include the Frans Dimbare Rural Youth Development Centre (N$9 million), the demolition of the Mariental Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre (N$800 000), feasibility study and documentation for the proposed Otjiwarongo Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre at a cost of N$5 million.
Also on the list is the N$500 000 retention fee for the first phase of the construction of Rundu Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre, N$5 million for the second phase of the construction of Opuwo Multi-Purpose Youth Resource and N$500 000 for the construction of Nkurenkuru Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre.
On the National Youth Service (NYS) capital projects Ekandjo said there is an ongoing project at Henties Bay for the linkage of the sewerage system from the centre to the town’s main municipal treatment plant, which started in 2014.
A project for the erection of a pre-fabricated office block, clinic and classrooms has been concluded, at a combined cost of N$10,2 million.
At Rietfontein, N$6.5 million was spent on a water supply and reticulation system, which includes a ground reservoir, a tower, as well as linkage lines that are nearing completion.
In addition, Phase 2 of the sewerage system, which includes the construction of ponds, treatment plant and linkage of sewerage and water lines to the recently constructed Chinese-aided ongoing infrastructure, is in progress and would cost N$7 million once it is completed.
Ekandjo narrated how at the occasion of the NYS ninth intake pass-out parade last month, at Henties Bay Training Centre, 489 young men and women graduated from the first phase of the National Youth Service training programme, which involves civic education.
Also in the second phase of the of the same training programme but in Voluntary Community Service, 540 recruits will be attached to the Youth, Health, Fisheries and Agriculture Ministries, Opuwo Town Council, Omusati Regional Council as well as the National Youth Service training centres.