Mootu demands transparency in Govt youth entrepreneurship funding

Utaara Mootu

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) parliamentarian Utaara Mootu has placed an urgent call to address the need for transparent accountability of the government’s commitments in financially supporting youth entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystems.

Mootu said this on Wednesday while tabling a motion that demands immediate action to rectify the shortcomings and proposed dynamic solutions for fostering a thriving entrepreneurial landscape for the youth of Namibia.

Mootu says the government should establish a transparent oversight mechanism to ensure transparency, accountability and efficient use of funds.

“Create an independent oversight body to monitor and audit all youth entrepreneurship funding and programmes. This body should include representatives from youth activists, civil society and private sector experts,” she says.

Mootu says provisions should be made to enhance funding accessibility and simplify the application processes.

She says to improve investments in young-owned businesses, there should be performance-based grants to financial institutions that meet or exceed lending targets for young entrepreneurs.

“Due to the risker nature of young-owned business exposed to numerous economic challenges and lack of financial support, they are more likely to fail,” she says.

Mootu further says the government should enhance funding available to youth entrepreneurs by increasing budget allocations and ensuring funds are disbursed transparently and efficiently.

“Increase and streamline funding, simplify application processes and provide collateral-free loans and grants. For instance, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service could allocate a specific percentage of its budget to youth entrepreneurship programmes,” she says. Meanwhile, the minister of finance in the 2022/2023 years reimagined a better future for the youth, through provisions of N$72,2 million to benefit the youth, targeting the Development Bank of Namibia to finance mentorship and coaching programmes for the youth.

National Youth Council (NYC) executive chairperson Sharonice Busch told the Namibian yesterday that the NYC maintains the highest standards of accountability and transparency and is committed to building a very strong governance framework.

“The government has various facilities and opportunities that speaks to youth entrepreneurship funding. I don’t think the honourable member of parliament has proven with facts what the shortcomings are with the existing facilities and opportunities provided for the concern she is raising,” said Busch.

Sharonice Busch

She noted that to operationalise the Youth Development Fund, the NYC has consistently provided its draft financial statements to the Office of the Auditor General.

“I believe her point, of an independent body to have oversight of such funding provisions, is in line with the National Youth Development Fund, that is provided for in terms of Section 30 of the National Youth Act,” she said.

Busch further said leadership of NYC is currently busy on the matter.

Busch said NYC’s financials for the period in question will be submitted to the auditor general soon.

“We will gladly share with our constituents an update once that process is completed,” she said.

According to Busch, funding opportunities towards youth entrepreneurship requires a more coordinated approach to ensure wider reach and a bigger impact.

“Through the Youth Development Fund, we believe we can have a central point through which such empowerment can be achieved,” she said.

Social justice activist Nafimane Hamukoshi says inefficient funding, corruption and bureaucratic obstacles limit the potential of young entrepreneurs, especially those from disadvantaged communities

“I strongly emphasise the need for transparency and accessibility in Namibian government funding for youth entrepreneurship. The oversight board should guarantee frequent audits, make reports available to the public, provide clear guidelines that are comprehensible, streamline the application process and enforce accountability,” says Hamukoshi.

She says the measure should be able to improve accessibility, combat corruption and foster transparency and efficiency.

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