By Andrew Irumba
Newly-created Bunyangabu District is struggling to recover more than Shs200m under the Youth Livelihood Fund (YLF), a government programme that gives revolving capital to selected youth groups.
While still a county under Kabarole District, Bunyangabu received Shs148 million in the 2016/2017 financial year, which was given to 16 youth groups. In the last financial year, when it was made a district, it received Shs90.2 million for 12 other groups.
However, the district community development officer, Ms Brenda Kabatooro, in an interview said that of all the above monies, only Shs19 million (less than 30 per cent) has been recovered.
The district Chairperson, Mr James Ategeka Mugarama, said the district is finding a big challenge in the recovering the YLP funds. He added that laxity in monitoring the youth groups has allowed some of them to misappropriate the funds.
“We are strengthening our monitoring and supervision of youth groups that benefitted from the fund in order for the project to be meaningful,” he said.
Last week, the district executive committee visited some youth groups to investigate allegations of corruption and forgery among groups.
It was alleged that some beneficiary groups were investing the money in ventures not approved by government at the disbursement of the funds.
There were also allegations that some youth outside the district had benefitted from the fund.
Ms Kabatooro said there are some cases of over aged applicants and others crossing from their original villages to benefit in the neighbouring zones. YLP beneficiaries are supposed to be between 18 and 35 years. She added that there are 28 youth groups seeking to benefit from the fund but those who have not paid back the money are denying them chance.
The district secretary for production and natural resources, Ms Dafrosa Natukunda, said there is a need for consensus among group members at the planning stage in order to address the low recovery challenges currently affecting different groups.
In this financial year, the Gender ministry, which manages the fund has allocated Shs222 million to the district.