Youths in Rumphi have asked the National Economic Empowerment Fund (Neef) to increase the number of beneficiaries in the district, claiming many of them are being denied access to the soft loans.
One of the youths, Denis Mkandawire, in an interview on Monday said it was difficult for them to access loans.
He said: “We need loans to invest in businesses as many youths are not employed.
“Neef is a good initiative and we expected our lives to change, but we are losing hope due to failure to access the loans.”
In a separate interview, Rumphi district youth officer Misheck Msokwa said many youths in the district are jobless, but cannot engage in farming due to lack of finances.
He said: “Many of them don’t have access to loans which can help them start businesses.
“Some of them have big ambitions such as engaging in business, but they fail because it requires a lot of money.”
Msokwa said it is difficult for them to borrow money from banks and Neef because they do not have well known assets for collateral.
But Neef public relations officer Whytone Kapasule said in trying to empower the youth economically, they meet challenges like delays in paying back the loans.
“Many youth groups default on loan repayment. Again the youth are not patient with the loan application process because it is structured,” he said.
Neef has disbursed K34 billion to various groups and individuals between February 2021 and May 2022, which experts said could lessen economic inequalities.
The funds have reached over 105 000 beneficiaries who are running various businesses in the country.
Of the beneficiaries, 70 percent are women and 25 percent are youths, according to Neef figures.