Saturday, February 4

Provincial Youth Leaders call on Gov’t to Empower Rural Youth

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NAYCONF comprises youth across the seven administrative regions of the country and all regional delegations are headed by regional youth committee chairpersons.

Speaking exclusively to NAYCONF Daily, EbrimaSanyang, chairperson for the Regional Youth Committee (RYC) of the Central River Region (CRR), said there is a greater need for the government to decentralize job opportunities to ensure rural youth get the needed jobs in their regions.

“The government also should build the capacity of young entrepreneurs so that they have innovative business ideas,” he said.

 The youth leader said further that the government should provide subvention to RYCs of the various administrative regions. This, he said, would help the committees to implement their activities at the grassroots level, such as sensitizations, skills training, entrepreneurs, and mentorship programmes.

 Sanyang opined that authorities should waive tax on investors who want to invest in the provincial regions for a number of years. “This will encourage investors to invest in the rural regions, which would provide more job opportunities for rural youths,” he said.

 The CRR is the breadbasket of The Gambia. It has several thousands of hectares suitable for rice cultivation, especially the Sapu, JahallyPacharr, Janjanbureh, Nianija, and Balangarr rice fields. The region has several hundreds of thousands of hectares suitable for cereal and legume cultivation.

However, MrSanyang called on authorities to empower young people that are into integrated agriculture. He justified that if such young entrepreneurs are empowered, there would be an increase in youth employment and abundant food items in the country.

BubacarrSidibeh, regional youth chairperson for Upper River Region (URR), says: “The youth empowerment in URR is just about 40 to 50 per cent. This means a lot needs to be done in terms of youth empowerment in my region.

 “Therefore, we want decentralization of job opportunities so that the youth of the rural regions will get employment at their various regions.”

Sidibeh said the young people of his region want the government to provide them with skills training centres, job opportunities, and access to finance to make them more productive.

“We also want the government to provide finance to the URR regional youth committee so that we will be able to implement our activities such as entrepreneurship training, mentorship, sensitizations, and other programmes,” he said, adding: “Without finance the RYC would find it difficult to execute its functions.”

OusmanSanneh, regional youth chairperson for Lower River Region (LRR), said the government is empowering youth but was quick to add that the government should intensify efforts in empowering young entrepreneurs.

 “The government should expand the support base for young entrepreneurs,” he said. “Government should increase the revolving fund. The grant is often D50,000 and some times D150,000. It needs to be increased to D500,000 or D1million because D50,000 or D150,000 is too small for a serious business person.”

Speaking further, he recommended the government to improve the infrastructures of sports facilities in the region. He said the Soma Mini-stadium is in a poor condition and sub-standard. However, he called on the government to standardize the mini-stadium and to provide a volleyball court in the facility.

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