Youth projects funded under the Youth Development Fund continue to collapse and fail despite the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture undergoing a restructuring exercise a few years ago.
The restructuring was made after realisation that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory, primarily because of lack of monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries of the financed projects.
In his report for the financial year ended 31 March 2015, the Auditor General, Pulane Letebele, notes that before the restructuring of the ministry, the fund was typically plagued by high level of arrears of loan repayments. As a result, the fund has reported high project failures while at the same it does not have a clear mechanism for dealing with assets of failed projects.
An audit of the fund shows that to date, there is an array of items of stores of high value, including generators, sewing machines, computer equipment, Morula oil processing machines, electronic kiln from collapsed projects which had been kept in a storeroom from as far back as 2013 without a plan for their disposal.
An audit of the fund in Maun shows that 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. In neighbouring Gumare office, personal records of the beneficiaries had not been updated to reflect the exact amount of money issued out and paid back. There are however indications of high arrears.
At the same time, the same audit shows that 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.
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 no action had been taken to recover the assets involved in those projects for proper disposal,” states the report.
According to Letebele, it is now two years since an undertaking was made to the Public Accounts Committee to have improvements in the undertaking of the fund.
“Those improvements are still not evident, as illustrated by the results from the 5 regions that had been selected for audit during the year under review” Letebele said.