Windhoek – The budget cut for the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service from N$429,524,000 to N$288,287,000, which represents a reduction of about 33 percent, has been described as “drastic” and a negative manoeuvre against the ongoing quest for youth entrepreneurial development.
During his budget motivation of vote 27 at the National Assembly, Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Erastus Uutoni, revealed that the budget cut may impact negatively on his ministry’s developmental initiatives such as the National Youth Council’s (NYC) Credit For Youth in Business (CYB) programme, which last year facilitated the process of securing bank loans to the value of N$320,000 to 32 youth businesses.
“The NYC further assisted with the realization of the #Eseb Bakery Youth Project in the Erongo Region, which employs about seven young people,” Uutoni said.
The CYB, under the auspices of the National Youth Council of Namibia (NYC), is an initiative that has been purposefully established to assist young entrepreneurs who lack access to credit due to lack of adequate bank-required collateral. NYC recognizes the weakness of programmes that provide credit as a standalone support package and is thus committed to facilitate the provision of other complementary SME support services, New Era has learned.
The programme targets youths aged between 18 and 35 who are already involved in business activities with particular emphasis on those enterprises that are residing in rural and semi-urban areas. It further focusses on graduates from the Commonwealth Youth Credit Initiative (CYCI).
Still on youth development, the minister further revealed that 30 young leaders were empowered and groomed during the 2017/18 fiscal year through the Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP) offered under a tripartite agreement between the ministry, NYC and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
“The budget cuts negatively affected youth development programmes, so much that the regional outreach programmes came to a standstill. Similarly, the training programme offered at the National Youth Service halted, to the extent that the Office of the President had to intervene, and subsequently, the bailing out by the Namibia Training Authority (NTA),” Uutoni added.
The minister further revealed that, for the financial year 2018/19, the ministry is planning to establish and commission 70 constituency rural youth enterprises in all 14 regions, in response to the targets set in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) of establishing 121 rural youth enterprises.
“At this point, I would like to inform the house that this is in addition to the six that are already established,” Uutoni revealed.