Patrick Zhuwao’s youth empowerment model misguided

The recent threat by the Indigenisation and Youth Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao to close down companies that do not comply with the Indigenisation Act by 1 April is not only irresponsible but down right stupid.

Patrick Zhuwao

Patrick Zhuwao

As PDP we are dismayed that ZANU (PF) has not seen it fit to recall him as he continues to do more damage to an economy that is already in a precarious position. The Minister’s ill-considered irrational exuberance on indigenisation and youth empowerment continues to cost the country and there is no excuse for that.

As PDP, our views on indigenisation and youth empowerment as articulated in our economic blue print policy document HOPE are clear. Indigenisation must be repealed in its entirety as it is serving no purpose but to discourage foreign direct investment. What we need to focus on is job creation.

In addition to that, we believe that the youth empowerment model being promoted by the Minister will not create sustainable new businesses but will inadvertently create more non-recoverable debt which the taxpayer will have to shoulder in the future.

As PDP we are not against empowering our youth who now make up about 65% of our population and are mainly unemployed. Empowering our youth is therefore important, but throwing money at them without a deliberate and scientific approach to youth entrepreneurship development is not only foolish but is  a sheer waste of scarce financial resources that the country can hardly afford.

In our view, youth empowerment involves first, the identification of viable business sectors going forward followed by the creation of  youth entrepreneurship business incubators where ideas are tested and their viability established and skills provided before any money is thrown at them. This includes monitoring and guidance of those youth by experienced business mentors for a given period and the creation of the necessary business support and administrative structures to ensure or at least increase the probability of success. Finally, youth can then be provided with the necessary capital but they must also contribute and take risk.

The ZANU (PF) approach to youth empowerment to date has been a complete disaster simply because it has been a partisan and uninformed process as was the land reform project which has cost the country so much that today 4 million Zimbabweans are facing hunger.

In our view, youth empowerment is a two-way street, if done without consequence for non-performance it will not result in wealth creation for our youth, but create a dependency mentality as is the case with free agriculture inputs. Instead it will most likely result in lost opportunity, irrecoverable debt and shattered dreams for our youth who deserve a better chance at life.

As PDP we urge our youths to be careful and circumspect and not jump into this debt trap created to entice them with unrealistic outcomes.  It has happened before and thousands of our youths now owe millions which they cannot repay.

We must empower our youth and not dis-empower them by implementing untested ideas that will most likely  set them up for failure. It is irresponsible and unfair for any government to do so.

Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe

PDP secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs

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Post published in: Business

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