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Govt asked to give Uwezo funds as personal loan

21 November 2013, 11:30 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - A young entrepreneur in the textile industry has called on the government to give youths Uwezo funds as individual loans for accountability in repayment.

Stephen Karono, an weaving entrepreneur based in Nairobi, said that accessing the Uwezo funds in registered groups locks out many youths operating personal projects, and that it also disadvantages industrious entrepreneurs who fear confiscation of their property in case other group members misappropriate the funds.

"The government should look into the soaring youth unemployment challenge by giving out youth funds to able and willing registered entrepreneurs operating stable and productive projects than limiting it to registered youth groups," said Karono.

weaving loom clothing textile
(Karono uses his locally-made Weaving Loom to make cotton clothing. Photo: Samuel Kisika, News24 user)

"Setting up training centres to equip youths with skills on managing and participating in local industries will help fight poverty and joblessness among young people," he added.

Karono lamented that despite the government's commitment to provide funds for job creation to the youths, there is high corruption thus limiting access to the money to those with godfathers.

He said that the government should put in place favourable measures to promote the growth of local industries by providing incentives, cutting costs of production and slashing importation of goods that are produced locally.

"The minimal cost of cotton fabric was KES 8 000 in 2002 when I ventured into the weaving business but today, it is sold at KES 18 000 thus the government should reduce costs of production to encourage youths' participation into local industries," noted Karono.

Karono further said the local government should stop harassing entrepreneurs and confiscating their products. He noted that many youths engage in informal business enterprises, and confiscating their products renders them jobless after losing the little capital they had invested in it.

Karono was speaking to the press in Nairobi during the ongoing Industrialization Week.  

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