Kiboga district fails to recover sh1.2bn youth funds

Kiboga district authorities are struggling to recover sh1.2bn from various youth groups who received funds under the Youth Livelihood Project (YLP).

The authorities say since 2014, twenty-eight youth groups within the district received sh450.8m from the Government but only sh800,000 has so far been recovered in the second quarter.

However, according to Mr Kyomya John, the Kiboga district speaker, a few youth groups have made efforts to pay back the money, despite the expiry of the recovery period.

Most of the youth, who received the funds, ventured into tailoring and fashion designs, piggery, bricklaying, bakery, hairdressing, grinding mill projects, carpentry and joinery.

“The district technical staff has not done its part because it failed to follow up with the groups,” Kyomya noted.

He cited some of the youth, who had no experience in managing the businesses they applied for, adding that some got excited seeing money in bulk for the first time and instead ended up misusing it.

Canon Edward Musingye, the Kiboga chief accounting officer, said the district is doing all it can to recover the money to zero balance since other youths have to benefit from it.

However, he noted that the slow recovery is due to some natural calamities, such as COVID-19, that affected youth projects and misuse of funds by group members.

Kilimanyi Laurence, the district chairperson social service committee, said they are engaging the youth on how they can pay back the money without running after them.

He said the project initially started well with most of the youth showing interest, but noted that during recovery, some of them took off after sharing the money among themselves.

Kilimanyi asked the youth to voluntarily start refunding the money to enable others access it since it is a revolving fund.

The Kiboga deputy resident district commissioner, Lubega Mary, has since given a go-ahead for the officials to employ forceful means to recover the funds from the youth.

Lubega said parents of the beneficiaries are being implored to compel their children to refund the loans.

“My office has already been petitioned to compel errant youth groups to refund the money, failure to comply will lead to stringent means of recovering the funds,” he said.

Due to the low recovery of the Youth Livelihood fund (YLP), the district missed out allocation of funds to youth this financial year.

Kayabula Joseph, an official from the office of the district community development officer, failed to explain the recovery of the funds and whether the youth were trained before being given the money.

“I am not in the know, since my boss just told me to represent him, but he never gave me the document. So, I need another day to present the statistics,” Kayabula said.

Ssemanda Mesach, the Kiboga town council community development officer, said only a few groups have paid part of their loan.

He said the district social service committee was not involved the project.

However, Naku Ruth, the district councillor representing Dwaniro, is against the move to forcefully recover the loans.

She suggested that the implicated youth groups should instead be counselled and given adequate time to pay back the loans.

Naku also attributed the poor recovery of YLP funds to lack of basic entrepreneurship skills that were not given to the groups during the programme’s inception, the lack of supervision and political influence by leaders.

John Katumba, a member of a produce group in Kiboga town council, said funds were released to groups during the wrong season that subsequently led to losses.

Katumba, who is a beneficiary, said the produce buying season is setting in, since farmers are already harvesting their yields and are hopeful to embark on business.

One, Gerald in Kyato Bavubuka Twezimbe Youth Bull Fattening, said they have partially returned part of its loan, adding that the groups didn’t get full technical support on enterprise selection, which made most groups to venture into income-generating activities that are difficult to manage.

Ssenjogera Moses, the vice-chairperson Kiboga district, in his report indicated that after the visit, some group members said their leaders mismanaged the projects leading to their failure. He directed Namiyingo Caroline, a leader in Kapeke, to pay back the cow she sold off.

We discovered that most people misused the funds and some mismanaged the projects. Some of my group leaders have misused the money by spending it on alcohol and women. Others thought it was free money from the Government, especially during the 2016 presidential campaigns,” Ssenjogera said.

Nsiro Gerald, the Kiboga district chairperson, said the district is unable to fund other new groups due to lack of funds, limiting the youth’s chances to create more jobs and wealth.

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