By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary for the ministry of Gender and Social Development has issued guidelines that will be followed by district officials when handling funds under the Youth Livelihood Programme.
The new guidelines were approved by Cabinet at a special sitting held on March. The Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) is a an ongoing government Programme, targeting poor and unemployed youth in all Ugandan districts. The initiative was designed to provide strategic and sustainable interventions for the youth to enable them effectively participate in the National development and improve their quality of life focusing on skills development, livelihood support, and institutional support. In a letter dated 29th April, which he issued to all district officials regarding the handling of YLP funds, Bigirimana said that “Youth groups that have completed repayment of funds and wish to scale up to their activities/innovations should be supported to do so through re-enhancing projects that demonstrate innovation and have a high impact on youth employment should be enhanced up to Shs25 million.” He added that “After the beneficiary preparatory activities have been undertaken, the respective accounting officers shall submit beneficiary bank account details to the permanent secretary.” In his letter, Bigirimana notes that three signatories who shall be democratically elected by group members will be directly responsible for handling the funds given to a group. The new guidelines further provides for groups to open saving accounts as opposed to current accounts only. “Enterprises in value addition and new profitable venture opportunities such as the pharmaceutical industries, construction sector, and extraction of plant and animal oils, wheat, and technology among others should be prioritized.
Investments in music film/ creative arts should be considered among the priority enterprises for support,” reads Bigirimana’s letter.
On the issue of enhancing local content for the youth, Bigirimana said the youth should as much as possible be supported to participate in local government procurements so as to enhance access to markets, profitability and sustainability of their enterprises.
Bigirimana urged all district chief administrative officers and town clerks of municipalities across the country to implement the new guidelines under which the Youth Livelihood (YLP) programme will be implemented.
Bigirimana said under the new guidelines, the number of members making up the size of the groups has been reduced from 15 to 5 youth of whom at least 30 percent must be female while the catchment area of the group was increased from village to parish. “Activities to be undertaken by the individual members or mini-groups under the decentralized management provision will be of the enterprise as the original group. This notwithstanding, the groups should maintain common activities such as conducting and ensuring full repayment of funds,” said
Bigirimana. Unlike the previous system where funds would be disbursed through accounting officers, Bigirimana said that funds for approved beneficiary groups will be disbursed from the ministry to the individual group bank account. He said that local governments will continue to undertake all the required preparatory activities such as beneficiary trainings, signing of financing agreements, repayment schedules and supporting the youth groups to open bank accounts.