The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSEC) Permanent Secretary (PS) Kago Ramokate has revealed that his ministry is owed around P400 million by the the beneficiaries of the Youth Development Fund (YDF).
Ramokate said this when appearing before the Public Accounts committee (PAC) this week. He said when the youth scheme was introduced it was a 100 per cent grant aimed at giving out money to empower youth in small businesses. This nonetheless has since changed with beneficiaries being expected to payback 50 per cent of the grant.Ramokate however pointed out that they are faced with a challenge of youths who fail to pay back the money given out to them.
“On average the ministry disburses almost P114 million every year and we estimated to get P6million but we have managed to receive only P2.8 million. I do not have the exact figures but we are owed around P400million,” Ramokate was responding to PAC member and Specially Elected legislator Mephato Reatile who wanted to know how much the youth businesses owe government ever since the roll out of the program in 2009.
From the presentation it is clear that the government has spent a whooping billion pula into the program. The YDF’s objective is to empower young people by giving them micro-financing on the projects. The accounting officer however said despite the youth owing the government, there are no accelerated efforts on the part of government to push them to pay.
“At the moment there are no plans for them to pay, otherwise they use our various branches to pay,” he answered PAC member Prince Maele who wanted to know if there are measure in place like debit order to facilitates for payment. Ramokate indicated that in their engagements with young people they have tried hard to show them the importance of being responsible citizens.
Ramokate explained the major problem is mostly encountered by government is youth funded businesses that collapse or those that do not do well hence difficulty to refund the government. “Some business collapses and it is difficult to get the loan back, we only repossess the assets and we sell them through public auction,” he said. Responding to another questions posed by Reatile, Ramokate cited that they do not have records of the young people who owe them.
“There are certain records available but not all of them. We are working tirelessly in putting the records together. This is a process that will take a long time to be processed,” explained Ramokate. PAC members however pointed out that the ministry should make an effort to follow-up on their debts. Maele stated he is worried about the youth ministry, indicating that it is a ministry that carries a lot of promises but fail to deliver.
Another PAC member Ndaba Gaolathe voiced that the youth ministry is failing to empower young people considering the contrasting figures of success and survival rates. “You should think carefully about the model, if you talk about 86% survival rates and half a million owed and not being able to churn businesses that are able to pay loans. What you are telling me is you are failing to empower the youth,” he said.
The YDF aimed at curbing high unemployment rate in the country has just like other initiatives like Poverty Eradication attracted backlash from the public, simply because there are no monitoring tools in place. This saw the PAC member Abraham Kesupile suggesting YDF promotes laze-fare in the youth who should be working hard for the assistance they get from government.
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.
The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union‚Äôs main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures‚Äô death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.
He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.¬† In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. ¬†Other selected pilots‚Äô sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.
Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,‚Äô he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‚ÄėIf we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy‚Äô, he stated
He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‚ÄėWe need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,‚Äô he noted
Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.
‚ÄėAfter realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ¬†‚ÄėWe did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,‚Äô he stated
He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‚ÄėResidents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‚Äėhe added
He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.
Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‚ÄėWe suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,‚Äô
The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.
In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.
Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.
It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.
Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.
Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
‚ÄúThe proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.‚ÄĚ
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
‚ÄúWe welcome the Director‚Äôs general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the ‚Äúfive Ps‚ÄĚ that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.‚ÄĚ
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. ‚ÄúFor that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.‚ÄĚ