HARARE – Youths in Matabeleland North received one percent of the Youth Development Fund, while youths in the capital Harare got 47 percent, bankers administering the fund have said.
The fund is administered by CBZ and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) on behalf of the ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment. Some of the youths were assisted to apply for the loans by the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC).
Speaking at a workshop organised by ZYC, Wellington Benyera, loan officer at CBZ, said the loan figures were skewed towards Harare because it is where the bank’s head office and many branches are located..
“It becomes easier for people in Harare to apply than those in Matabeleland,” he said.
Benyere said the type of businesses that youths in Matabeleland engage in do not necessarily require them to access loans. “They are into buying and selling and getting quick money.”
While Matabeleland North received one percent of loans awarded to youths at CBZ from 2009 to date and Harare received 47 percent from the fund, Bulawayo received seven percent and seven percent was channelled to Matabeleland South.
Mashonaland East got six percent, Mashonaland West five percent, Mashonaland Central 10 percent, Midlands seven percent, Manicaland seven percent and Masvingo five percent.
CBZ loaned the youths $2 000 at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum. The total fund administered from 2009 to date is $2 682 777.
Livingstone Dzikira, director of ZYC said his organisation does not have control over who applies for the funds. But all youths are urged to apply as a way of empowering them.
Tichaona Kaseke, a senior loans officer at IDBZ, said his bank gives out a maximum of $1 000 with an interest rate of eight percent.
Youth Development Fund was launched on October 6, 2006 as a revolving fund. Disbursements also commenced in October 2006.
Kaseke said the fund was re-launched in September 2009 and as at October 31 2013, 644 loans were disbursed with 2 167 jobs created. A total of 1 020 projects were received and are awaiting processing.
Mashonaland East has the most funded projects with 189 projects followed by Mashonaland Central with 100 projects. The least funded projects were found in Matabeleland North with 18 projects and 21 in Bulawayo. IDBZ funded 75 projects in Harare.
Kaseke said it was not deliberate that Matabeleland North and Bulawayo had the least number of projects funded.
“We have a criterion that includes age below 35 years, a business registered as a private business corporation and all projects must demonstrate potential to generate sustainable income for the project promoters and create employment for other youths among other things,” Kaseke said.
“We just follow the criteria and no one is side-lined.”