National Youth Council protests ‘ghost-youth groups’ report

The National Youth Council has dismissed as baseless and non-factual the reports of the existence of ghost youth groups that are beneficiaries of the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP).

On Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Pius Bigirimana while appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was confronted with questions on some alleged ghost groups that received funding under YLP.

The MPs questions were based on the Auditor General’s report that indicated the YLP funds lacked a proper accountability, framework or detailed guidelines for accountability of the revolving funds.

The chairperson of the National Youth Council, Aber Lillian however dismissed the report during a press conference at the council’s offices in Ntinda near Kampala.

She instead accused the MPs that sit on PAC of misleading the country by making ill-informed statements.

“ You are misleading the entire country, make statements which are informed; why are you discouraging young people to come for this money? If you bring all these negativities which are actually wrong; I can tell you, I go to the field I meet these young people, even if you tell me to bring people with success stories here I can parade thousands of them” said Aber.

To Aber, what is thought to be ghost groups is as a result of groups members changing type of investment.

“Some start with different groups but later change because the initial groups are non-profitable yet they appear in the register as carrying out the first investment. Perhaps that is why they think these are ghost groups; but I can assure everyone, there is nothing like ghost groups,” added Aber

Some groups, Aber said, have changed location due to poor infrastructural development like lack of electricity which doesn’t favor businesses like stationary and secretarial services hence relocating to urban areas which consequently changes their registered location

Since its inception in 2014, the YLP is reported to have reached a total of 16,169 groups with membership of 197,728 youths across the country.

Records at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development show that more than Shs 123.9bn has so far been distributed to groups.