Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture Kefentse Mzwinila says his Ministry is currently assessing the Youth Development Fund (YDF).
Through the development, he said they would also introduce changes to accommodate a new dispensation in terms of the financial model, turn-around time as well as delivery methods of the YDF.
More emphasis will also be put in availing markets and creating a platform for the youth to ensure that their goods and services are seen by potential buyers, hence the annual Youth and Business Expo.
Speaking at the North West District Youth Pitso in Maun this week, Mzwinila pointed out that as the main consumer of goods and services, the government had reserved procurement for the youth at all its departments. In addition to that, he said a quota of 30 percent of available open spaces had been reserved for the youth to enable them to start or expand their businesses.
“You need to go out and identify undeveloped and unoccupied open spaces which you will use free of charge to set up temporary stalls or as flea markets as long as such usage complies with land use and other regulatory requirements. All departments and independent departments have been advised to set aside a 20 percent quota reservation for the youth, women as well as people with disabilities on micro procurement. This has been availed to make things easier for more of you to venture into various businesses,” said the minister.
Mzwinila’s assertion came after numerous complaints by the youth that their businesses were made to suffer because some landlords charge exorbitant prices in rentals. The youth also requested that there be specific training on specific businesses, particularly in the fields of tourism and agriculture which are key economic activities in the North West District.
Another concern was that the Youth Expo only accommodated a few people while the rest were never given chance to exhibit their products. They called for a free flow of information and that changes should always be communicated in time.
However, responding on the issue of high rentals, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Kgopotso Ramoroka strongly advised that monthly rentals at places of operation should be fully paid and on time so as to avoid unnecessary conflicts with landlords.
He stated that while some landlords charged exorbitant prices, there were still a handful of those who charged reasonably, yet some people still failed to pay. He pointed out that at times they even went an extra mile to negotiate rates for the youth even.
On the issue of offering training on area specific businesses, he said they had been a realised that most tourism projects were expensive and might need more funding and exceed the P100 000 maximum amount, thus disregarding the ministry’s aim.
“Nevertheless the onus is on you to come up with intended projects. And because of our association with you as the facilitating partner, we can only refer you to the relevant ministry or financial institutions depending on whatever you want to do because we are duty bound to help you,” he said.
Currently they were evaluating the previous youth expo to determine if they could take it to regions to allow for more participation as compared to the 300 who participated at the last one.
In an effort to improve communication with customers, the ministry has promised to introduce a communication centre which will be accessible through all media platforms.