Ntoroko district disbursed 532 Million Shillings to 67 selected youth groups in 8 sub counties as startup capital for income generating activities. 52 of these have made repayments to the tune of 499 million Shillings in a period of one year.
The program is a government initiative designed to address the challenge of unemployment among Ugandan youths. With an initial budget of 256 billion Shillings over a five-year period, the program seeks to equip youth between 18-30 years with skills and start-up capital to enable them improve their quality of life.
Through the program, government has so far extended funding to over 7000 youth projects across the country.
During the financial year 2015/16, Ntoroko district disbursed 532 Million Shillings to 67 selected youth groups in 8 sub counties as startup capital for income generating activities. 52 of these have made repayments to the tune of 499 million Shillings in a period of one year, according to records from the office of the district Community Development Officer.
Robinah Masereka, the acting Senior Community Development Officer for the district attributes the high recovery rate to the viability of projects that most of the youth groups invested in. She says most of the funds were invested in business like restaurants and bakeries which gave the youth a high return on investment.
Masereka adds that the district has an effective and committed recovery committee that helps to follow up with the beneficiaries to clear their disbursement.
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Ronald Tusiime, a youth leader in Karugutu Sub County says that before the funds were disbursed, the district authorities provided adequate guidelines to the youths on how the funds can be utilized. He adds that the money was extended to youth who were already engaged in productive enterprises and not to those just starting businesses.
Tusiime says that youth leaders in the district continue to sensitize their colleagues to engage in viable projects, so that the funds are recovered. He adds that some of the youth who engaged in piggery failed because of disease outbreaks.
According to the 2014/15 financial year Auditor General's Report, the report faults districts for disbursing the money without conducting feasibility studies on the maturity of the income generating projects.
The Auditor General, John Muwanga has since directed Chief Administrative Officers to ensure the money is recovered in time to help other groups.
Under the youth livelihood programme, repayment is done within a period of three years following a recovery schedule or agreement. Recovery of the funds depends on the nature or gestation period of a given project the youth applied for.
Records from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicate that 7,887 youth groups totaling to 101,419 beneficiaries have been funded in the country since the inception of the project.