The National Youth Council of Malawi (Nycom) says it needs an extra K1 billion from the 2019/20 Budget if it is to efficiently implement programmes it outlined for youths.
Nycom chairperson Dingiswayo Jere bemoaned the meagre resources his organisation is receiving from government, fearing that some of the critical activities which it wants to implement for the benefit of youths may not be undertaken.
In the 2019/20 Budget, Nycom estimates that it requires over K1.2 billion to efficiently run its programmes, but government gave it a ceiling of about K600 million
The figure, according to Jere, will not sustain the organisation’s activities; hence, the decision to engage youthful parliamentarians on the matter. He has since urged the youthful parliamentarians to form a Youth Caucus in the House to ensure that interests of youths are represented in Parliament.
He said: “As an organisation, we are mandated to register youth networks in the country. We also wanted to hold a general assembly and to train youths in financial management. We failed to do all these activities because we did not have funds.
“Now we want to continue promoting young people at grassroots level. We need them to have a sense of responsibility as it is noted that out of 75 percent of people in mental hospitals, 50 percent are youths.”
A 2018 Population and Housing Census report states that over 60 percent of the country’s population comprises youths, most of whom are below the age of 18.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo in an interview pledged to support Nycom by ensuring that the proposed caucus is set up.
“This is the time to rise up and begin implementing programmes concerning the youth. It is painful to note that government has been using councils to implement programmes for the youth. We will see the Minister of Finance. It is bad to have huge allocations given to wrong hands,” he said.
On his part, Lilongwe City South East legislator Ulemu Msungama argued that young people’s interests are not represented in Parliament; hence, the need to move swiftly on the matter.
He said: “There is a Women Caucus in the House, so why can’t we have a Youth Caucus to represent interests of the youths. We have a number of youthful parliamentarians. And we are going to ensure this is established.”
Malawi Youth Network vice-president Ruth Chavula said the introduction of the Youth Caucus in Parliament will not only help ensure that the council is given enough funds, it will also ensure there is proper coordination and accountability of programmes.