President Edgar Lungu is next week expected to launch the long awaited youth empowerment and employment strategic plan with a view of increasing youth employment in both the formal and informal sectors.
Youth and Sports Minister Vincent Mwale said the long awaited strategic plan was critical to youth empowerment as it presented unique ideas that would help young people generate their own employment by becoming self-reliant.
Mwale disclosed that the document was developed over a period of three years with the help of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Germany government among other key stakeholders, saying it was passed and approved by Cabinet last month and was now ready for implementation.
“President Lungu is keen on seeing youth in the country flourish, and it is for this reason that he is in a hurry to launch this important document which will see a reduction in youth unemployment in the country”, Mwale noted.
ZANIS in Luanshya reports that the Youth and Sports Minister said the Strategic Plan will be launched on 12th August which marks the International Youth day commemoration.
Mwale also said he was engaging big companies on the Copperbelt to consider giving up to 30 per cent of their contracts to companies or cooperatives owned by youths.
“I have so far spoken to Konkola Copper Mines KCM, LMC, INDENI, Ndola Lime among others to start contracting youths in up to 30 percent of their contracts so as to promote youth empowerment, and as government we shall do everything possible to ensure that we get the necessary machinery and money to offer to graduating youths so as to help them become self-employed”, Mwale said.
Mwale said his Ministry was also sourcing into the recently acquired Sovereignty Euro bond so that we can use that money to purchase heavy equipment machinery which will be given to youth groups so they can generate employment.
Mwale was in Luanshya on a mission to engage LCM to increase support to sporting activities in the country, inspect the mine sports complex intended to be transformed into a sports university and also look at issues of youth empowerment in the district.
He said the ministry was in consultation with LMC on how best the company can improve its support to sports in the country and also on the handing over of the sports complex to the government for improvement into the first ever world class sports university in the country.
He disclosed that during his recent visit to Beijing- China, he minister met with the Luasnhya Copper Mine (LCM) Vice President who promised to respond to governments request before the end of this month.
He lamented the state of the sports infrastructure which he said was being run down and not being used for the intended purpose which is the development of sport, calling for increased investment in sports infrastructure if the country was to compete favourably at world cup level in all sporting disciplines.
“We need to make use of this infrastructure in a proper way as building a new one altogether would cost government ten times as much. It is sad that this place is now being rented out to people using it for different purposes such as bars and restaurants when government is ready to development it once its handed over by the mines”, said Mwale.
The sports complex has a gym, basketball, tennis, squash, rugby and cricket field, a swimming pool among other sporting infrastructure.