Youths scupper loan scheme

Youths linked to senior Zanu (PF) politicians are using their connections to avoid repaying loans they were given under the Old Mutual Youth Empowerment Fund.

The Zimbabwe Youth Council Director, Livingstone Dzikira, told The Zimbabwean that they were battling to recover the money lent to the youths. Some had even changed their contact details in a bid to evade repaying the loans. $5 million is still outstanding. In 2011, Old Mutual made available $11 million for youth empowerment projects. The fund is being administered by the Central African Building Society (CABS).

“We are having a torrid time tracking down some of the youths who have not repaid the loans. Some are boasting of political connections saying that they are untouchable,” said Dzikira. In 2012, it was found that 70 percent of youths who had benefited from the empowerment fund had diverted the money away from the projects it was intended to fund. Some used it to pay lobola.

Dzikira vowed that they would track down the defaulters, saying it was unacceptable that youths would use political muscle to avoid repaying a loan. He said the abuse of political links by the youths went against the spirit of empowerment.

“We are saying that there is no need for them to go into hiding or try to use unorthodox means to avoid repaying the loans. They should come forward and explain their situation to us. It is not a crime for one to fail to repay, but of major concern is the fact that we have some who are running away or want to use some form of cover to avoid repaying the loans,” he said.

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