Thursday, October 28, 2021

Youth Development Fund project bombs

Government office complexes throughout the country are turning into giant warehouses to store equipment from failed Youth Development Fund projects ÔÇô the Auditor General’s report for the year ended 31st March 2015 has revealed.

The Youth Development Fund which was expected to be a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth draw card during the 2014 general elections has bombed and government has no plan on how to handle the fall-out.

An audit of the fund by the Auditor General has revealed that “the fund was typically plagued by high levels of arrears of loan repayments and project failures without a clear mechanism for dealing with the assets of failed projects.”

Indications are that the fund which was used in the BDP 2014 elections campaign adverts may have been a political decision which had been put together without enough planning.

The Auditor General, Pulane Letebele has in the past warned that the project would fail because of the way it was run. “I have in the past commented that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries on the projects financed from the Fund on a 50% grant/50% loan basis, which may result in the objectives of the fund not being achieved”, states the Auditor General in the 2015 Audit report.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting nothing has been done.

The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009.”

The Auditor General noted that there was no indication that any action was being taken to follow up loan recoveries and settlement of the existing areas.

“An array of items of stores of high value, including generators, sewing machines, computer equipment, Morula oil processing machines, electronic kiln, etc totalling P34 686 from collapsed projects had been kept in a storeroom from as far back as 2013 without a plan for their disposal”, stated the report.

In Gumare personal records of the beneficiaries had not been updated to reflect the exact amounts, there were however indications of high arrears.

In Charles Hill, out of the loan disbursement of P11, 5 million only P659 000 had been repaid and P161 000 was owed as arrears. “A number of items of stores and equipment from collapsed projects had been kept in the storeroom since 2013, without any plan for their disposal.

In Gantsi the total loans disbursed since 2009 amounted to P4, 5 million and only “a paltry”P30 000 was repaid leaving arrears of P2, 5 million.

In Hukuntsi the amount disbursed since 2009 amounted to P2 million out of which P120 000 was recovered with outstanding arrears of P300 000. “According to records in this office, confirmed by discussions with the officer in charge, a number of projects in this region had collapsed, but not action had been taken to recover the assets involved in those projects for proper disposal”, states the report.

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