Dar es Salaam. The United National Association (UNA) has helped 2000 youths to access 10 per cent loans issued by local councils for the past five years through its empowerment program.
Despite the availability of such loans, many young people still do not know how to access such funds due to lack of awareness.
In ensuring youths access the loans and help them to establish small business the UN agency has introduced a program on Accelerating Youth Participation in Decision Making and Livelihood to help youth through engagement in making the 10 per cent empowerment loans work for them.
Speaking to The Citizen, UNA Youth and Economic Rights Program Officer Mr Lucus Kifyasi said the program started in 2016/2021 and more than Sh600 million has been disbursed to 2000 youths from 200 groups.
He said the program is implemented in 17 local councils in the country whereby the UN agency helps youth who want to establish business to form groups so that they can get loans.
"UNA believes for a well-developed and economically stable Tanzania society, the existing economic empowerment loan 10 per cent is crucial for Tanzanians to explore available livelihood improvement opportunities towards achieving economic rights," he said.
He said the interest free loans operate differently from other many available loan mechanisms provided by financial institutions for Tanzanians establishing income generating activities.
It provides committed startups with valuable opportunities to build foundations for business growth and take off.
Speaking on youth who default, “It is true if you go by numbers all groups benefiting from the empowerment loans defaults. One reason is previously some youth thought these loans were just for free so their commitment towards repayment was zero.”
However the UNA have through a support from Foundation for Civil Society worked hard with other stakeholders to disseminate information on loans and knowledge about livelihood activities that one can invest through the loans.
Charles Manyama a resident at Kinondoni said "We have a group of Bodaboda so through UNA we managed to access loans. In our group of 15 people, five youths have already bought a new Bajaj,"
During the financial year 2020/2021 budget Sh64.5billion was supposed to be allocated for the empowerment of youths, women and people with disabilities but up to February this year only Sh26.18 billion had been released.