ZIMBABWE – Government is revitalising the National Youth Service (NYS) to ensure graduates from the programme play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of the country in line with Zim-Asset and the 10-point plan, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwawo said the 80 000 NYS graduates scattered around the country should have a hand in economic development.
He made the remarks after meeting the NYS Association members in Harare yesterday.
“We have 80 000 graduates that are willing to make this economy move,” he said.
“This is a huge amount of human capital that we should be taking advantage of. I am going to co-ordinate your interactions with Government because the solution to the Zimbabwean economy lies with us Zimbabweans. Foreigners will only come to assist us and they do that on our terms. We are taking a strategic focus which focuses on ZimAsset and the 10-point plan and we looking at localising the 10-point Plan so that it is implemented at ward level and coordinated to the constituency level.”
Minister Zhuwawo added: “In line with the economic empowerment strategy that the ministry is finalising, the NYS will play a crucial role through programmes such as Youth Build Zimbabwe, Youth Feed Zimbabwe and Youth Secure Zimbabwe which will be implemented at community level. Special emphasis will be on in-situ training.”
President Mugabe, during his State of the Nation address in August, announced a 10-point Plan, which cuts across all economic enablers, to steer economic growth.
Minister Zhuwawo said his ministry was working on the legislative framework to regulate the NYS programme and was re-institutionalising training in line with the directive by President Mugabe in February.
“Cabinet of June 16, 2012 directed the ministry to make legislative amendments to the National Service Act (Number 19, Chapter 11:08 of 1979) and we are currently working on that,” he said.
“It was during this period that camp-based NYS training stopped due to inadequacy of financial resources. The principles of the NYS Bill are now under consideration and will be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office to pursue the enactment of a NYS legislation.”
He said since President Mugabe’s directive, camp-based training had been re-introduced at Dadaya Training Centre in Midlands with 112 people graduating two weeks ago.
Minister Zhuwawo said it was unfortunate that “certain narratives” were being created to downplay the importance of NYS yet many countries, including Western ones, had a similar programme.
He said NYS graduates had also immensely contributed to the peace and security being enjoyed in the country as they also went through conflict prevention, management, resolution and transformation skills.
Minister Zhuwawo said the $2,5 million allocated to the ministry for youth empowerment during the 2016 National Budget would benefit NYS and vocation training centres graduates.
Among those who attended yesterday’s meeting was musician Sulumani Chimbetu, who is also a NYS graduate.