The Youth and Small Entrepreneurs Self-Employment Fund has sought help from the local and federal governments to recover bad debts of Rs 270 million.
The fund, that invested Rs 7.83 billion at the rate of Rs 200,000 to each youth, has yet to recover Rs 270.564 million out of that.
A total of 58,342 youths were self-employed in 10 years through the program started by Baburam Bhattarai when he was finance minister in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government. The fund had lent to youths through cooperatives.
“We are taking legal action against office bearers of the cooperatives and entrepreneurs who have not repaid the loans,” information officer with the fund Samjhana Wagle told Setopati. “We have initiated legal process to freeze their fixed properties, deny them government facilities, blacklist them and deny them passports.”
A few defaulters have been elected as people’s representatives at the local level.
“We write only after they default three installments. We have told the land revenue offices to freeze land of 500 youths,” Gyanhari Adhikari, who oversees the legal and loan recovery section at the fund, said. “But merely freezing the land has not worked. They can till the land and harvest the yield.”
He revealed that the fund has already written to the local governments to block government benefits to the defaulters. “Some defaulters have been elected at the local level. They are facing problems now and are repaying the loans now,” executive director of the fund Bishnu Prasad Gautam told Setopati. “Four cooperatives owe over Rs 40 million. They are not repaying the loans.”
The National Vigilance Center (NVC) accuses the fund of irregularities and corruption despite the latter’s claims that it has invested as per the directives. The NVC report states that the fund’s data of making 58,000 youths self-employed is also not correct.
Vice-chairman Prem Prasad Dangal claimed that the NVC’s report is not even close to the fact. “We strictly monitor the investment of cooperatives. The NVC has put bad debts at Rs 510 million but it is just Rs 270 million. The NVC report is very far from truth.”