Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation Deputy Minister Tino Machakaire recently announced that Government will continue disbursing start-up relief funds to youths and urged those that have not received the funds to register.
Addressing youths at Dingimuzi Hall in Plumtree over the weekend, the Guest of Honor at the Plumtree Youth Dialogue, Deputy Minister Machakaire said the relief fund was an on-going exercise meant to address problems faced by the youths.
Machakaire said Government was fully aware that some youths had not yet received relief funds and would soon be getting their fund. He, however, urged more youths to register for the funding.
“We have heard their problems and we are quite happy. We are going to take them up to the Minister. Some of the problems raised here, we managed to solve them during the dialogue. The main surprise was that because of the poor internet connectivity, some of the youths were complaining that they didn’t hear about the Youth Fund.
“Fortunately, we addressed them and explained the procedures and processes of how to benefit from the fund. I believe they’re happy that we did that. We want to make sure that no one is left behind, some of them are going to access the funds immediately especially those who are already registered,” he said.
“They raised an array of issues, among them the need to create more relief funding packages particularly during such crises periods. As a government, we are looking at making this programme an ongoing thing because we know the problem is not for today but will take some time for the country to fully recover. We are confident that the central Government will look into it and assist those who have not benefited from the fund yet,” Deputy Minister Machakaire added.
Zanu PF Acting Secretary for Youth Affairs, Tendai Chirau, reiterated that the meeting organized by Bulilima East Member of Parliament, Honorable Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu who is also Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister. The vibrant and energetic Ndhlovu, opened a platform where young people interact and share ideas to build a better, safer, and economically sound Matabeleland South region.
Acting Youth Secretary for ZANU-PF, CdeTendai Chirau, who also attended the dialogue praised Ndhlovu and youthful constituents for observing the social distancing and World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 prevention protocols.
“I am encouraged by the level of awareness and alertness to the realities of the Coronavirus pandemic. They observed social distancing and World Health Organisation pandemic protocols,” said Chirau.
“What is most important is his (Ndhlovu) encouragement to the young people that it’s important to create solutions to the problems that they’re facing. Very realistic and well thought out solutions came out of this meeting, for example, the issue of PPC working together with the private sector. The Minister is encouraging the corporate world to come and assist young people in so far as empowerment is concerned,” Chirau said.
Speaking at the same meeting Minister Ndhlovu urged the youth to identify opportunities that came with the Coronavirus pandemic and start doing business. Unpacking the Youth, Fund stimulus package unveiled by Government, Minister Ndhlovu urged youths around the country to unlock opportunities.
“We are importing not less than US$4.5 billion worth of goods including amazambani (Groundnuts), we’re importing ground nuts to do peanut butter, we’re importing potatoes, we’re importing baked beans and onions. I saw a 30 tonne truck with onions at the border so, I’m saying let us take this opportunity to identify what we can do we need to seriously consider scaling up import substitution. I am not just looking at Plumtree only but the entire country too.
“I dare you to look at the entire country, even look at the region I think at this point we’re much closer to be supplying the whole region, for example with hand sanitizers. In Masvingo, for example, we’re getting ethanol which we use to manufacture (sanitizers) but beyond that, we now have entrepreneurs who are now doing the actual manufacturing,” he added.
Ndhlovu said he was happy that youths were now thinking on how best to unlock opportunities despite funding constraints.
“Funding will always be a challenge but I think progressively Government will look into operationalising the ZWL$500 million venture fund created last year. I think we will need to get it working because it primarily addresses the entrepreneurial spirit young people have. We want to see innovative ideas getting the right support which it deserves especially to start new businesses,” he said.
Minister Ndhlovu, deputy Minister Machakaire and their colleagues from the party also toured Climate Adaptation for Rural Livelihoods (CARL) Project which is being funded by Swedish International Development Agency and a joint undertaking of Oxfam Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean organization SAFIRE, the University of Zimbabwe and Swedish Meteorological Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
The project aims to improve the socio-economic well-being of Zimbabwe’s rural population by reducing poverty and food insecurity in the face of climate change. The project strengthens smallholder farmers’ capacities to withstand climate change, adapt to climate change, and transform in light of climate change, with the aim of building climate resilient villages for the years to come.
To date, the project is supporting women and youth with Siyephi Garden made up of 123 youths with 82 females and 41 males involved in nutritional gardening and rehabilitation of a dam for livestock and diversified livelihoods.
ZANU-PF’s youngest representative in Parliament Gutu West MP, Honorable John Paradza, and Masvingo Youth chairman Brian Munyoro traveled from Masvingo in a show of total support for youth-driven initiatives. Other attendees included Cde Mike Chimombe, a youth executive, and Matebeleland South Youth Chairman Washington Nkomo.