Nyasha Majoni in Kwekwe
THE Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has revealed that it intends to summon Zanu-PF national political commissar and Local Government Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere to shed light on the Youth Development Fund, which disbursed loans to youths during his tenure as Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister.
Speaking with Sunday News on the sidelines of a public hearing at a packed Mbizo youth centre in Kwekwe last Wednesday, Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator and the portfolio committee’s chairperson, Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena said his committee would soon summon Cde Kasukuwere to answer to concerns on how the fund was handled, with the majority of beneficiaries of about $40m failing to service their loans and some no longer traceable.
Contributions at the hearings, he said, will be considered by the Portfolio Committee and will be part of the Committee’s report to be tabled in Parliament.
“The fund was supposed to benefit the youths. We will definitely summon him to provide adequate explanations over allegations being levelled against him. You also have to understand that out of all the country’s ten provinces, only Mash East, Mash West, Mash Central and Harare Metropolitan have so far benefited most from the youth fund,” he said.
Irate youths in Kwekwe told the committee that they did not benefit from the fund which was under the purview of Cde Kasukuwere during his tenure as Indigenisation minister, with some banks handling the portfolio.
The Youth Fund was launched by the Government in 2011 with the quest of empowering the generality of the country’s underprivileged youths through provision of loan facilities to finance developmental projects.
Giving oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment recently, Stanbic and Allied Bank revealed that the youth loan funds could have been looted with some beneficiaries misrepresenting their ages and addresses.
While Stanbic Head of business banking Mr Partson Mahachi told the committee that the bank had signed an agreement with the ministry to release maximum amounts of between $5 000 and $10 000 per beneficiary from a $20 million revolving fund, but Parliamentarians noted that some beneficiaries got more.
CABS managing director Mr Kevin Terry reportedly told the Parliamentary Committee that the society had approved loans for 3 662 applications worth US $5,32 million. The bank stopped disbursing money due to high default rate in repayments.
The committee has been on a tour of areas like Victoria Falls, Hwange, Bulawayo, Gweru and Kwekwe, among others. It also discovered that some beneficiaries had changed their residential areas and where business addresses were given, most places were idle and the majority of the beneficiaries had failed to pay back the money. The committee also found out that some beneficiaries had either deserted the areas or provided non-existent physical addresses.