President Lazarus Chakwera has said youths are critical players in the economic development of the country.
Chakwera was speaking when he launched the National Youth Service at Chikonde School Ground in Neno District.
Chakwera said the majority of the country’s population are the youth and that no country can develop if the majority of its population are left behind.
“This is why I am excited that two years after becoming President, I have come to launch the National Youth Service I promised months before I was elected President.
“We have allocated in the 2022-23 financial year over K3 billion and a majority of this money will help 20,000 youths to get relevant skills to be self-reliant,” the President said.
Chakwera then said the National Youth Service is a game changer and that he was already impressed with what he saw when he inspected the new structures and skills training at Neno Integrated Youth Development Centre under the ‘Jobs for Youth Programme’.
He said the National Youth Service will also help identify markets for skills and products of the National Youth Service graduates both locally and internationally.
But the President challenged youth themselves to be in the forefront in the pursuit of their economic independence.
He said the service is not for lazy people who want to get their needs for free.
“The National Youth Programme is for those who are saying ‘I want to be self-reliant, I want to be able to make a living for myself; please, government push me’. If you are lazy and want to continue being dependent, don not join the National Youth Service,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda hailed Chakwera for launching the National Youth Service saying he has fulfilled one of his biggest campaign promises.
He said unemployment remains one of the biggest problems among the youth and that government intends to increase funds for the service from K3.5 billion this financial year to K20 billion next year.
On his way back, Chakwera inspected construction works on Neno Road which are currently underway.