KIRYANDONGO, February 5, 2024 – Most youth in Kiryandongo district have defaulted on the loans disbursed to them under the Youth Livelihood Programme [YLP] to finance their income generating projects.
Launched in January 2014, YLP is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development [MGLSD]. It is a Government of Uganda financed programme designed as one of the interventions of Government in response to the high unemployment rate and poverty among the youth in the country.
However, the failure of the youth in Kiryandongo district to pay back loans was disclosed recently during a stakeholders’ meeting convened by MGLSD at the district headquarters.
According to Caroline Rukundo Benda, Supervisor Recovery and Skills Development at MGLSD, out of the Shs 1.17 billion disbursed to the beneficiary youth groups in Kiryandongo district, only Shs 261 million has been recovered since the launch of the YLP in the financial year 2013/2014.
This poor recovery rate ranks the youth as leading defaulters compared to the women who received Shs 428.5mln under the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme [UWEP] and have paid back Shs 102.6mln.
“We need to recover the funds so that other groups benefit. Kiryandongo did not recover money during the previous financial year and this is affecting the indicative planning figure for the district,” said Rukundo.
Rukundo urged the sub-county chairpersons, and leaders of special interest groups to mobilise the beneficiaries and ensure the funds are recovered for others to utilise.
During the meeting, Elizabeth Adong, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer [CAO] Kiryandongo implored the community development officers to regularly share reports so that the progress of the government programmes can be tracked.
She noted that like YLP and UWEP, other government programmes like Emyooga Programme, meant to uplift to uplift special interest groups out of poverty face the challenge of defaulters.
“There is a need for a clear system of tracking beneficiaries to avoid defaulters from benefiting from future programmes, that is where the challenge is,” she added.
Nelson Osaga, the LC III Chairman Kyankende Sub-county advised the technical staff to work hand in hand with the political leaders to monitor the beneficiaries of government programmes like YLP, UWEP, and others and ensure they recover the funds so that other groups can be able to utilise them.
Osaga also alleged that some ghost groups received the money, which has made recovery very difficult.
Edith Aligum Adyeri, the Kiryandongo district LCV Chairperson said those who created ghost groups so that they swindle government money will be apprehended.
He added: “I want to commend groups that have managed to pay back the money in time and in case they apply for refinancing, they should be considered.”
Aliguma noted that the interest of Kiryandongo district leadership is to ensure that the beneficiaries’ household incomes and livelihoods are improved through intended government programmes.
“If what the Chairman LC III of Kyankende Sub-county is saying is true, we must investigate it and apprehend the suspects. We should not be bothering innocent people to refund what they did not receive,” said Aliguma.
She further urged the responsible district officials to summon defaulting groups to discuss the rescheduling of their repayment plans, adding that defaulters who will not appear must be apprehended.
Adong assured the stakeholders that the Office of the CAO would summon the defaulters and apprehend those who would not cooperate in repayment of their loans.
YLP targets the poor and unemployed youth in all the districts in the country in order to enhance their incomes. The Programme is community demand-driven, and implemented under MGLSD through the existing Local Government structures. Funds are advanced to the youth interest groups [YIGs] in form of a revolving fund in order to increase outreach and enhance sustainability of the programme.
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