GOVERNMENT has warned beneficiaries of the K11.8 billion Youth Development Fund (YDF) for 2012 of legal action if they do not pay back the loans whose disbursement process started yesterday in Eastern Province.
Youth and Sport Minister Chishimba Kambwili issued the warning yesterday in Chipata when he gave out money to 18 successful applicants.
Mr Kambwili said the Government would not tolerate fraud as had been the case in the past.
Easter Province entrepreneurs, who have an allocation of K1.1 billion are first to receive the fund under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.
Mr Kambwili reiterated that all those owing Government from the previous administration's disbursements would be pursued and legal action taken against them if they did not repay the loans.
He said the Government would not "mix business matters with leisure or politics" and that selection was not based on political lines and the same would apply when recovering the money.
"I would like to warn all you recipients that this money you are receiving is to be paid back. If you do not intend to pay back, leave the cheques otherwise, I can assure you that you will be jailed.
"I take business matters seriously and I will not relent until all the monies borrowed are paid back so that other youths can also benefit as this is a revolving fund. Take my words as a friendly warning," he said.
He told the recipients that being first under his Government's administration should prove to be responsible pioneers and avoid previous occurrences where only K1.71 million was paid back from the K4.1 billion borrowed.
He said the youth fund was part of Government's job creation strategy and ordered the Director for Youth at the Ministry, Collins Mulonda to keep statistics of how many jobs would be created from the disbursed funds.
Eastern Province Assistant Secretary Zachariah Luhanga hailed Government for the disbursement saying the money would go into improving the socio-economic development of the province.
Youth and Sport Permanent Secretary Agness Musunga ordered the provincial loan committees to ensure the money reached intended targets.