The Malawi government has drawn anger from youth-led organizations, which are accusing it of neglecting priorities of young people in the formulation of the 2020/21 national budget.
Six youth-led organizations argue that the K15 billion that the government has proposed to allocate to the economic empowerment of the youth and women is too meagre to meet the needs of the youth constituency in Malawi.
The Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha said on Friday that the government has allocated K15 billion towards economic empowerment of the youth and women through provision of high quality and sustainable microfinance services thereby reducing levels of unemployment through enhancement of entrepreneurship.
Mwanamvekha added that out of this amount, K2 billion will be dedicated to be accessed by women and youth who have been directly affected by Covid-19.
But the coalition, which comprises Activista Youth Network (AYN), Christian Youth Association of Malawi (CYMA), National Association of Young People Living with HIV (NAYPLHIV), Youth Act Alliance (YAA), Young Politicians Union (YPU) and National Youth Network on Climate Change (NYNCC), states that the youth constituency alone would need K21 billion to successfully run their affairs for the next one year.
The coalition coordinator, Edward Phiri, said they are considering engaging members of Parliament (MPs) to demand an increase to the allocation.
Phiri said during the budget consultation process, they youth coalition submitted a K21 billion budget proposal.
He said the budget is broken down as follows: the K1 billion for Youth Leadership and Participation; K 7 billion for Youth Economic Empowerment; K 500,000 for National Youth Service; K5.2 billion for Education for Youth; K 5.1 for Youth Science and Technology and Environment; K 450,000 for Youth Health and Nutrition; and MK 300 million for Social Services, Sports, Recreation and Culture.
“Motivated by the National Youth Policy, we would like to see the Minister of Finance allocating K7 billion for Youths Economic Empowerment with a primary focus on funding and supporting the implementation of youth contract quota of 10 percent with all government contracts supported with policies, strategies and guidelines at all levels, fund and support implementation of youths agri-business through establishment and promotion of youth farming clubs and cooperatives at all levels in the disbanded young pioneer farm bases, defunct ADMARC [Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] farms and government farms and irrigation schemes, fund and support entrepreneurship and job creation for young people with disabilities,” he emphasized.
Phiri, who is also Child Rights Information and Documentation Centre (CRIDOC) executive director, consider redirecting the resources earmarked for the construction of the stadia for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers to youth empowerment initiatives.