The joint movement of Bachashutdown has petitioned the Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project (PSCEDP) over allegations that the project plays double standards on the vulnerable youths.
The President of Bachashutdown Tumelo Moteuli stated that, the movement recognises initiatives taken by international banks to support PSCEDP with an objective to grow the economy of Lesotho. He mentioned that they recognise themes of the activities led by PSCEDP and the movement is also aware that PSCEDP is housing M133m for small business, from African Development Bank (ADB), which according to the office as by design is meant to empower youth to participate meaningfully in job creation.
The said youths wanted unemployment to be declared as state of emergency. The movement further acknowledges the involvement of the PSCEDP in partaking measures to limit youth unemployment in Lesotho.
“The Movement is cognizant that your good office has been supporting the government to execute the Youth Job Summit plan. However, we see your office not as genuine as it portrays its image in public domain, because PSCEDP as well as the government seems to delay the process,” Moteuli said.
The letter continues that the youths of Lesotho explicitly expressed a need to empower them through the various meetings and other platforms, hence a quest to have unemployment to be declared as state of emergency.
“Youth were against the introduction of Youth Employment Stimulus Programme that was introduced by the office of the Prime Minister Accountability in the presence of the Prime Minister on the December 7 2020. This was done on the basis that, the programme is not sustainable, the programme is not meant to be led by the youth but to consolidate already failing existing government youth initiative across Ministries that have such, which the Prime Minister agreed unequivocally that the approach has to change since for the past 50 years it has not worked to solve youth unemployment,” the letter reads.
“So our concern is why your office is against that?” the letter quizzed.
The letter further entails that… “The release of the Youth Summit was as the result of the fact that youth did find it as one of the mechanisms to have ownership, surprisingly, during the first phase of the youth summit that was held at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre on November 17 to 19 2021 there was nowhere the youth said PSCEDP office and BEDCO should lead.
PSCEDP received the findings of youth groups from at least five districts, on how they can be capacitated and the feedback was presented by the National Youth Task Team. PSCEDP also has the presentations from the National Youth Job Summit on what approach to be applied when capacitating youth.
Despite the youth’s actions, Moteuli explained that, it is discriminatory and targets literate youth who can only articulate their intentions in writing not verbally or in sign language. He added that, the illiterate and disabled groups of youth expressed themselves through the report after the in-district consultations led by the National Youth Task Team, but it was shelved and now funds are directed to the competition where only the few literates can access it.
Moteuli stated that, PSCEDP deceives the international banks; it focuses on activities that can be televised, book expensive locations and spends lots of funds on beverages like the expensive lunches. Same launch where youth were spectators and that amount of money could have sponsored a capital for a start-up business.
The letter concludes by indicating that, it is negligent both the in-district consultations and the National Youth Job summit already present short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions. Moreover, phase two of the summit where stakeholders need to commit for sponsoring youth ideas is next in December. But PSCEDP office is focusing on sponsoring the few and it says nothing about the poorest illiterates and the disabled.
Moteuli stated that Bachashutdown would like PSCEDP to withhold the competitions and focus on the solutions presented by In-district and the youth summit. Additionally to engage youth while planning and remember that nothing for youth without youth.