Youths in Matabeleland North Province say their exclusion from the Local Organisation Committee for the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly undermines the objective of ensuring economic empowerment for young people in the country.
This follows the announcement of the Local Organisation Committee by the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry which saw Hwange District Administrator being appointed to take over the Chairmanship from Victoria Falls Mayor, Councillor Nkosilathi Jiyane, in Victoria Falls last month.
Matabeleland North Youth Empowerment Group Secretary General Kudakwashe Chigoma said youths in the province are not represented in the committee yet many of them have adequate skills and experience.
HeÂ added that government should consider allocating a portion of the business to youths since many business opportunities such as upgrading of roads, rehabilitation of the sewer systems, refurbishment of Victoria Falls Hospital and expansion of the Victoria Falls International Airport will come up during preparations to host the event.
â€œWe are saying give us the opportunities. We donâ€™t want situations that we have experienced in the past where all that we have benefited are new buildings. If they allocate a certain percentage of business, say 20% to youths, it will help develop the province; itâ€™s high time that this province develops,â€ he said.
Turning to the $11 million dollars that was unveiled for youth empowerment programmes last year, Mr. Chigoma said the money is believed to have benefited a few while the majority who have submitted their applications have failed to get any assistance so far.
He said: â€œSome of the money is benefiting a few, some of us havenâ€™t seen anything. We have submitted the proposals but nothing has come up.â€
The concerns come at a time when business associations presenting various sectors such as agriculture, transport and tourism in Matabeleland North Province have urged government to ensure that they be considered first for business opportunities before they are awarded to companies from other regions.