DISBURSEMENT of the Youth Empowerment Fund will not be done on partisan lines, Sport and Youth Minister Chishimba Kambwili has said.
Mr Kambwili said disbursing such an important fund on partisan lines would defeat the very purpose for which it was created.
The purpose of the fund was primarily to empower youths who had viable business plans but with no start-up capital.
The minister said trivialising disbursement of the Youth Empowerment Fund to partisan affiliation would result in costly consequences including failure by borrowers to pay back.
"Recipients of this fund should strictly be youths who present the best business proposal regardless of their political affiliation.
Suffice to say the success of a revolving fund is in the ability of those who borrow to pay back and only then can more people benefit," he said.
Mr Kambwili said due to laxity in the lending process in the past, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into office to a discovery that the previous regime had given out KR4.8 million and only collected KR175,000 in repayments.
The minister said his ministry was still pursuing those who had not yet repaid what they borrowed, adding that a few had started dismantling their debt which he said was a positive sign.
His office had decided to decentralise the lending process to provincial level where a technical committee using strict monitoring and evaluation guidelines looked at the business proposals submitted by clubs and individuals.
"For us, this process runs independently without any influence. We feel taking it to provincial level will benefit all youths in the country unlike in the past where only clubs in Lusaka had access to the fund," he said.
Mr Kambwili said the KR19 million allocated in this year's Budget would be disbursed together with KR50 million Loans and Investments at the Ministry of Finance which was set aside for skills training centres countrywide.
The minister said the training centres curriculum would deliberately be tailored to teach the youth how to write and come up with a business proposal so that they use the acquired knowledge to apply for the Youth Empowerment Fund.
Last year, the ministry disbursed KR11.6 million to various youth projects countrywide with most youth expressing interest to access the funds.