Francistown — Francistown East MP, Buti Billy has told Satellite South ward residents that the Youth Development Fund (YDF) taken a deliberate decision to fund youth cooperatives with a view to improve the success rate of youth projects.
Mr Billy who was speaking during during a kgotla meeting said the move was part of the many initiatives geared towards addressing widespread unemployment among young people.
During his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) in November last year, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi stated that government had initiated the review of YDF to improve the success rate of youth projects and thus optimize employment creation.
"Among the proposed changes will be a focus on funding of youth cooperatives and consortia in identified sectors with potential for success. Government has also decided to capacitate the YDF beneficiaries through training in first level project management as a precondition for being funded and there will be consideration for exemption in deserving cases," Dr Masisi had said.
According to Mr Billy, the success rate of funded youth cooperatives compared to financing of individual youth projects had shown great potential in countries such as Kenya hence the resolve by the government of Botswana to follow suit.
Also, the Francistown East legislator called on local authorities to give priority to the youth every time when awarding Constituency Community Projects (CCP) tenders.
"The same goes for temporary allocation of open spaces. Give priority to young people to set up businesses," he said, adding that government was working around the clock to create an enabling environment for youth businesses to thrive.
He cited as an example that young people who wanted to bid for government tenders were expected to pay only 50 per cent of the total cost of the tender document.
On other issues, MP Billy told residents about Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy and implementation framework which was adopted by government in 2009.
The policy, he said was roped-in as an alternative means of financing public infrastructure projects to accelerate and improve infrastructure development as well as help create the much needed employment.
The legislator stated also informed residents about a decision by government to develop the City of Francistown into a Mining supplies, services and transport hub under Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy of 2011 due to its strategic location was a welcome development.
The development, he affirmed would go a long way at fast-tracking the development of the city's infrastructure.
Commenting, residents appreciated government's efforts to improve their livelihoods.
They however complained about exorbitant charges by Water Utilities Corporation (WUC).
However, MP Billy told them their sentiments about WUC charges were shared by many and that the corporation had been advised to consider introducing prepaid water meters.
Earlier on in her welcome remarks, Donga Customary Court President, Ms Tshegofatso Setumo challenged residents to hang on to onto the Setswana long-held tradition of the kgotla system as a platform to exchange views and thereby bolster democracy.
Her plea resonated well with both MP Billy and some of the residents who were in attendance.