NGO urges gov’t to allocate $20 million to Youth Fund

By Simon Deng  and Merio Jimmy

Okay Africa Foundation, a Juba-based NGO has urged the transitional unity government to allocate 20 million U.S dollars to the Youth Enterprise Fund to enable skilling of youth.

“We are requesting the government to prioritize enacting the Youth Enterprise Development Fund Bill and then with the recent loan secured from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) it should allocate at least 20 million dollars to the Youth Enterprise Fund,” Wani Michael, Director of Okay Africa Foundation told journalists in Juba on Tuesday.

The government in March received $174.2 million from the IMF Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) to help it cushion the economy from shocks due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2018 revitalized peace deal calls for the creation of the Youth Enterprise Fund aimed at supporting economic empowerment of youth.

“Government should urgently prioritize the issue of creating more employment opportunities for the young people by diversifying the economy,” said Michael.    

He also called for allocation of job opportunities on merit without discrimination along ethnic lines.

Michael cited the recent violent attacks on humanitarian offices by youth in Eastern Equatoria and Ruweng Administrative Area, who were protesting while alleging that they were being denied job opportunities by NGOs.

 In addition, these angry youth claimed the job opportunities were being taken up by people from outside their locality.

A call to invest on hydropower

Okay Africa Foundation is also calling on the government to invest in hydro-electric power to help generate enough power for the would-be industries in the country.

“Why can’t the government instead of borrowing money for stabilizing exchange rate which we know the money will end in some people’s pockets, why can’t you construct Fulla Dam to generate enough energy,” said Wani Michael, the executive Director of Okay Africa Foundation.

“Power is important, this thing of borrowing money will not bring economic stability, government does not employ a lot of people they are supposed to provide service,” he said.

Michael said that investors will not come into the country because there is no guarantee for security, adding that the implementation of the revitalize peace agreement need be expedited.

“We need to have industries build here, Torit has the biggest deposit of cement along Imatong Mountain, instead of buying cement from Tororo in Uganda, we could have this one of ours and instead export it somewhere else,” he said.

“We really need to focus on creating more opportunities for young people, if you want to have a very productive youth sector, you must be able to create more opportunities for them,” he said.

Condemnation of attacks on Humanitarian Workers

Wani Micheal, Executive Director for the Okay Africa Foundation

Over the past few weeks, there have been reports of some young people attacking humanitarian workers and Organizations for what they termed as “taking their jobs.” Wani says his organization condemns any form of violence against any humanitarian worker or organization and he is appealing to government to provide security and protection for all its citizens, humanitarian workers and visitors.

Wani appeals to the youth to embrace dialogue with their respective government institutions and other organizations to find amicable ways of resolving issues peacefully.

An Advocate, Joseph Daniel says every South Sudanese has a constitutional right to work anywhere in South Sudan irrespective of his or her tribe, religion and gender and there must be no room for discrimination in regard to jobs or employment opportunities but rather encourage governments at all levels to create more opportunities for the people of South Sudan.

Daniel added that if indeed, there are cases of favourism and malpractices in the recruitment processes within non-governmental organizations, government should investigate such allegations and hold such individuals or institutions accountable.     

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