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PNP says YEP's struggles expected

Published:Wednesday | March 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) says the slow response to the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) should have been expected because it was poorly planned and implemented.

PNP Spokesperson on Youth, Lisa Hanna, charged that from the outset YEP was not driven by enough research to determine whether or not the guidelines reflected the needs of the group it was targeting.

"The YEP programme is another example of the Government promising a programme, but being ineffective in implementing it," she said.

Hanna was reacting to information coming out of a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Friday, that most of the $200 million placed in YEP last year remains unused.

Low-interest small loans

The YEP programme was started to offer low-interest small loans to recent graduates to start small businesses.

One participant in the forum, credit and risk-assessment manager at JN Small Business Loans Limited, Thelma Yong, disclosed that only five persons had taken up offers at her institution.

Pointing out that the programme was poorly planned, Hanna argued that it was obvious that young people were the least prepared to start an enterprise, and that some could not borrow money legally.

In addition, she said Government should have recognised that "unattached youths" would have had more urgent need for this kind of initiative.

"However, most would not have qualified for the programme as in many instances many of them lacked critical academic training or had not been exposed to any post-secondary training," she added.

Hanna said the Opposition believes in programmes that seek to provide employment opportunities for young people, but warned that with the limited resources, attempts should be made to rationalise existing programmes and services.