THE Indigenisation and Youth Empowerment ministry is currently on a fact-finding tour countrywide to establish how best to resuscitate the Youth Development Fund (YDF) responsible minister Francis Nhema has said.
The fund, which dispersed to youths between the ages of 18 and 35, through the Central African Building Society (Cabs), was suspended recently because of a high 78% default rate.
A subsidiary of Old Mutual, Cabs is the disbursing agent of the US$10 million YDF which the parent firm availed as part of its compliance with the indigenisation and empowerment laws.
The fund was launched two years ago.
Nhema said the fact-finding tour on how best to manage the fund is extensive and is an ongoing process.
“It is a mammoth task,” Nhema told business digest, in an interview on Wednesday “It involves all 10 provinces and they are a number of verifications that are being done. We want the process to be thorough,” he said.
Nhema said the ministry’s permanent secretary, George Magosvongwe, was in Manicaland this week as part of efforts to revive the fund.
He said the exercise would ensure the administration of the revived fund improves as well as avoid the pitfalls that led to the initial suspension of the fund.
“We feel strongly that there is need for this fund,” Nhema said. “We want the fund to be distributed through all the banks.”
Nhema, however, could not give a timeline of when the process will be finalised.
He said it was important for youths to be trained how to operate businesses. Nhema said training of the youths in the vocational centres around the country was ongoing.
The minister said this would help promote broad based empowerment to benefit the majority of Zimbabweans.
Nhema noted his ministry was eagerly awaiting the opening of a Women’s Bank which he said would complement the youth fund when it is resuscitated.
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Oppah Muchinguri this week revealed that the Women’s Bank, which was approved by cabinet last year, was scheduled to open in the next three months.
“We welcome the opening of the women’s bank as young ladies will benefit from the bank and help us complement the youth fund.”