Albertina Nakale Windhoek-Due to budget constraints as a result of the economic situation in the country, the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme (NYCS) loan disbursements have not taken place during the 2016/17 and 2017/2018 financial years. The Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Jerry Ekandjo revealed this in parliament when he responded to questions posted by United Democratic Front (UDF) Member of Parliament Apius Auchab. Auchab wanted to find out what are some of the several factors that are currently preventing Namibian youth entrepreneurs from making a meaningful contribution to job creation – and what are the plans to overcome these challenges. Ekandjo responded that budget constraints have negatively affected the NYCS beneficiaries who are to have received funding as part of the loan phases 2, 3 and 4. The NYCS is a loan guarantee program aimed at providing financial support to youth that do not have adequate collateral to access capital and financial support from the mainstream financial institutions. The loans offered range from N$5,000-N$50,000, and are repaid at an affordable fixed interest rate of not more that 20 percent of the total amount per loan term. Ekandjo however said plans are to divert funds from the stand-alone NYCS program to that of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) for the 121 youth enterprises, “The consolidation plan of the two concepts into one project is to ensure that a single ring-fenced enterprise development fund is in place,” he said. Further, he noted, with a lack of access to improved ICT and other technology, youths are not developing large enough networks for high growth. The latter, Ekandjo says, is essential to enable young entrepreneurs to tap into a network that will provide access to market information, technological expertise and a global market. The multi-purpose youth centres offer basic ICT training to youth to impact ICT skills and while this is offered, mentorship will continue, he said. Namibia scores very low in youth entrepreneurship, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report of 2015, which further revealed that Namibia is the 3rd worst country in sub-Sharan Africa when it comes to youth entrepreneurship. Moreover, the report indicates that youth in sub-Saharan Africa are more entrepreneurial than youth in other world regions. Ekandjo said entrepreneurship is a mandatory subject offered to all trainees in order to shape their entrepreneurship capabilities in conjunction with skills training. The NYCS offers loans for youth entrepreneurs and gives intensive entrepreneurship training in basic management practices to youth prior to awarding them with loans as well as conducting follow-up training. The minister explained that mentorship is an ongoing service offered to the NYCS beneficiaries, as well as continuous monitoring and evaluation as a means to support the NYCS beneficiaries. Mentoring is offered to young entrepreneurs with the assistance of implementing agencies.
2017-11-09 09:16:26 10 months ago