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THE CASSINGA MASSACRE
In the morning of May 4, 1978, the South African Defense Force ran an air strike on camp Cassinga near the village of Cassinga, followed by a deployment of paratroopers. The camp was inhabited by exiled SWAPO sympathizers and their families. 165 men, 294 women and 300 children died in this attack. Later the same day the nearby camp Vietnam in the village of Tchetequela was also attacked. As of 2016 the graves are unmarked but the Namibian government plans to erect a memorial site.
Cassinga Day is a national public holiday in Namibia remembering the Cassinga Massacre. Commemorated annually on 4 May, the date "remembers those approximately 600 killed in 1978 when the South African Defense Force attacked a SWAPO base at Cassinga in southern Angola. Commemorations are marked yearly by ceremonies at Heroes' Acre, outside of Windhoek. These ceremonies are attended by many important national political figures, including incumbent President Hage Geingob and former Presidents Hifikepunye Pohamba and Sam Nujoma as of 2016
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16 JUNE 2021
Parliament suspended – still
National Assembly sittings for this week (15, 16, and 17 June 2021) have been suspended due to an increased number of staff and Members of Parliament (MPs) testing positive for Covid-19.
The parliamentary press secretariat on Tuesday announced that Speaker Peter Katjavivi has also tested positive for Covid-19. Six staff and three MPs were then confirmed positive.
Normal sessions of the House are expected to resume next week on 22 June 2021.
The Covid-19 situation in Namibia has turned for the worse over the last four weeks following an exponential increase in numbers of infections, particularly in Windhoek where 52% of the total cases in the country were recorded.
In response, the government has announced stricter public health and safety protocols applicable until 30 June.
Call for moratorium on oil & gas exploration
Local and international activists are urging the Namibian government to impose an immediate moratorium on all oil and gas exploration activities in the two Kavango regions.
They further call on the government to initiate a transboundary and multi-national strategic environmental assessment for the entire oil development life cycle before Canadian company ReconAfrica is allowed to continue with its drilling and exploration activities there.
The organisations – Saving Ovakango's Unique Life (SOUL), the Women's Leadership Centre (WLC), and the Namibia San Council (NSC) – made these calls at a hearing on the matter before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources on 15 June.
Appearing alongside these organisations were representatives of the Kavango East and Kavango West Regional Conservancy and Community Forest Association that presented the parliamentary committee with a number of objection letters from community organisations that were submitted to the regions' communal land boards last month.
These letters are objecting to ReconAfrica's application for the right of leaseholds over land where it has commenced with drilling and exploration activities.
Chairperson of the parliamentary committee, Swapo MP Tjekero Tweya, said the committee's mandate is to investigate all claims made by the petitioners.
He said it will form an internal work plan for its future engagements with the various stakeholders.
10 June 2021
Namibia in grip of Covid wave
The parliamentary sitting for today (10 June 2021) was cancelled due to Covid-19 cases reported among parliamentary staff.
This is a reflection of the exponential spike in the number of new infections, hospitalisations, and deaths recorded across the country over the last few weeks.
Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula in Parliament on Wednesday (9 June 2021) said the numbers are “alarming”.
The ministry on Tuesday reported a 25% positivity ratio from tests over a 24-hour period.
The deadly South African variant of the virus was confirmed in a “significant” number of Covid-19 positive cases.
Shangula reported that from 7 June Namibia reported a cumulative number of 59'092 confirmed cases and 912 deaths, compared to 355 deaths reported by 7 February.
In the last two weeks Namibia reported 5'761 new confirmed cases and 147 deaths.
The increased numbers are placing a huge strain on public and private health facilities.
The occupancy rate in most Covid-19 isolation and intensive care units ranges between 67% and 100% on any given day.
The ministry started with its vaccination roll-out on 18 March with donations of 100'000 doses of China's Sinopharm, and 30'000 doses of Covishield from India.
Namibia also received two consignments totalling 67'200 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.
Shangula said more doses of vaccines are expected from Sinopharm through the African Medical Supply (AMS) platform.
By 7 June 76'259 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, and 11'608 were fully vaccinated.
Motion on youth empowerment in offing
Landless People's Movement (LPM) MP Utaara Mootu will table a motion in Parliament on an 'integrated youth development strategy'.
She said the aim of the motion is to harness political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal instruments for the eradication of poverty among the country's youth.
Mootu said while the youth form the bulk of the Namibian nation, government's response over the last 31 years since independence has been “inadequate or misplaced”.
“The youth of Namibia are intentionally exposed to poverty and unemployment, worse than ever before,” Mootu said.
Mootu also called for an investment conference to attract investments to the newly opened Neckertal Dam in the south of the country.
Practical solution to water debts required
United Democratic Front (UDF) MP Dudu Murorua wants Parliament to debate and consider practical means that will help local authorities become self-sustaining in servicing their water debts to the national water utility, NamWater.
Many municipalities are in arrears with their water payments, payments they are not able to make and which leave them indefinitely indebted to NamWater.
Kasingo explains PAP chaos
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Loide Kasingo on 8 June 2021 said the abrupt chaotic ending of the fourth ordinary session of the fifth Pan African Parliament (PAP) was due to a succession battle between African regional blocks making up the legislative body.
Kasingo has led the Namibian delegation of lawmakers to the session in May in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Reporting to the Namibian Parliament this week, she said despite the principle of geographical rotation agreed upon by the African Union, the northern and southern African regions have been deprived of the leadership since the inception of PAP in 2004.
“This was the bone of contention in the recent session of PAP,” Kasingo said.
For the past 17 years, the presidency of PAP was held by eastern, central, and western African regions.
Kasingo said the opposition to the demands of rotation by western and some other regions degenerated into chaos, which warranted the suspension of the electoral process and the session.
Genocide agreement up front in Parliament
- Agreement fails to wow
The 1.1 billion Euros to be paid over 30 years for the 1904 to 1908 genocide of Ovaherero and Nama communities the German government has agreed to pay as reparations will not go towards the Namibian government, but will be paid into a special vehicle to be set out.
This was said by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the resumption of the third session of the seventh Parliament yesterday (8 June 2021) in reaction to public criticism that the money might be diverted by government to fill the cash-gaps in the national budget.
The Namibian and German governments have been involved in a five-year long negotiation process – between 2015 to 2021 – consisting of nine rounds of negotiations on the genocide matter, and struck an agreement on 15 May this year.
Under this agreement, the two governments will set up a body – an implementation vehicle – that will be responsible for the implementation of the reparations programme agreed upon.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the money will be deposited into a fund that is separate and outside of the Namibian government national budget, stressing that it will not be used for other government programmes and activities.
“The reconstruction and reconciliation programmes processes will be transparent, and the amounts allocated to the affected communities will be solely dedicated to the implementation of the agreement,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
She said the governance of the fund will be on a trilateral basis, composed of representatives of the Namibian and German governments, and the affected communities.
The legal framework for the implementation vehicle will be developed in a transparent manner with the full participation of the affected communities, she added.
The two governments agreed to set up a joint declaration, a framework that will guide the process of acknowledgement of genocide, rendering an apology, and the payments of reparations by the German government, as well as future relations between the two countries.
The declaration will be signed by the foreign ministers, and once signed, it will be brought to the Namibian National Assembly for consideration and ratification.
Components of the declaration
The three components of the declaration are:
- Acknowledgement of genocide: Germany has agreed that the genocide committed by German imperial troops against the Ovaherero and Nama between 1904 to 1908 constitutes and fits the definition of genocide as prescribed in the United Nations Convention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. It further agreed that a large number of Damaras and San communities were also exterminated.
- Apology: The German government agreed to render an unconditional apology to the affected communities and the people of Namibia for the genocide. This apology will be delivered by Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Namibia's National Assembly on a date yet to be agreed upon.
- Payment of reparations: Germany agreed to pay reparations in the form of monetary compensation for reconciliation and reconstruction programmes to particularly the affected communities.
Under the reconstruction programme, projects will be implemented in the Erongo, Hardap, //Kharas, Kunene, Khomas, Omaheke, and Otjozondjupa regions in the land reform sector, particularly for land acquisition within the framework of Namibia's land reform programme. Other areas to be covered are rural livelihoods, natural resources, rural infrastructure, energy, water supply, and technical and vocational education and training.
As far as the reconciliation programme goes, Germany committed to promote and support reconciliation between the peoples of the two countries through preserving memory work of the colonial era, in particular the 1904 to 1908 period, support for research and education, cultural and linguistic issues, and encouraging exchanges between the two nations.
Allocation of the funds
The two countries' governments agreed for the funds to be allocated over 30 years as followed:
- 50 million Euro for reconciliation
- 130 million Euro for renewable energy
- 150 million Euro for vocational training
- 100 million Euro for rural roads
- 130 million Euro for rural water supply and sanitation
- 540 million Euro for land acquisition and training
The agreement struck between the two governments has come under heavy criticism from the affected communities who feel that particularly the monetary compensation falls far short of the mark.
Traditional leaders from these communities have rejected Germany's money offer, and instead are now demanding N$8 trillion to be paid over a 40-year period, as well as a pension fund.
Opposition parties in parliament yesterday also denounced the agreement, and the declaration, accusing the Namibian government of having “sold out” and as having excluded the affected communities from the negotiations.
The affected communities suffered another defeat when the US Supreme court declined to hear the Ovaherero and Nama petition in a case brought by these communities against the German government there.
The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) in a statement on Monday (7 June 2021) acknowledged defeat, stating: “This marks the end of our legal campaign in the courts of the US but most certainly not the end of our struggle to achieve restorative justice for our people.”
The OTA called for a trilateral negotiating platform where the descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama communities are represented by their own chosen leaders, and “not by a proxy in any shape or form”.
Photo: Ovaherero captives of German imperial troops. Namibia National Archives
Appointments to Security Commission
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Loide Kasingo, has recommended the reappointment of Swapo Party MPs Evelyn !Nawases-Taeyele and Leevi Katoma on the Security Commission.
President Hage Geingob has the power to appoint the two ministers.
The commission makes recommendations to the President on the appointment of the Chief of the Defence Force, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Commissioner-General of Correctional Service, and other functions assigned to it by an Act of Parliament.
Clarity sought on perks after retirement
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani wants to know how many former senior civil servants and political office bearers are entitled to perks after retirement.
Venaani wants to know how many retirees are exempted by the executive powers to use perks they are ordinarily not entitled to, and asked that Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila quantify by detailed account all beneficiaries of perks in retirement.
“What are the entitlements of the first and second ladies of the Republic? How many vehicles in total are in use by retired officials of the state and what is their monetary value?” Venaani asked.
Green scheme tender award under spotlight
Landless People's Movement (LPM) MP Henny Seibeb is suggesting that a N$32.4 million green scheme tender has been wrongfully awarded to a company called Aloe Agricultural Trading.
He charged that Aloe Agricultural Trading has no experience in green scheme installations, and that two other companies with the relevant experience and have far lower tendered prices – N$19 million each – were both ignored.
Seibeb said the registration of Aloe Agriculture Trading with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) in 2018 conveniently coincided with the approval of funds by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
“How come this company was given the tender? Was there insider trading?” he questioned the Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.
A N$130 million project is funded by the GCF through the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) for the Implementation of Improving Rangeland and Ecosystem Management (IREMA) in the Kunene region.
Seibeb said upon receiving the funds, the EIF management decided to adjust the approved project activities by introducing the Design, Build, Operate and Transfer (DBOT) of Warmquelle and Khowarib green schemes.
Aloe Agricultural Trading was appointed to renovate and install new green schemes facilities at Warmquelle and Khowarib.
In addition, the EIF gave a 20-year concession to Aloe Agricultural Trading to operate and manage the two green schemes.
Seibeb said Aloe Agricultural Trading will generate income and make profits for the shareholders from the two green schemes for the next 20 years while not investing any of its own money into the ventures, while the GCF investment was supposed to directly benefit the people of Kunene as per the funding proposal.
Consultant considers feasibility of rail-connectivity
The Ministry of Works and Transport has appointed MR Technofin Consultants to do a feasibility study for the railway extension, or link, on the Trans-Kalahari railway line.
The 12-month contract was signed on 10 March 2021.
The Namibian government has received a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the implementation of its Transport Infrastructure Improvement Project (TIIP).
One of the project's components – the feasibility study for the railway link between Namibia and other SADC countries - is being co-funded by the Namibian government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Works minister John Mutorwa said the objective of the study is to consider the Trans-Zambezi extension of the railway to attract additional freight from Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern DRC, and Angola to the Port of Walvis Bay.
The largest commodities targeted are minerals exported from the region, complemented by other imports and regional trade.
The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) during the 2019/21 financial year has allocated N$959.3 million to previously disadvantaged Namibians, an increase from N$483.5 million in the previous financial year.
N$121.7 million approvals supported women-owned businesses, and N$149.5 million approvals went to youth-owned enterprises.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the approvals are distributed across all 14 regions of the country, with Khomas taking up 41.9%.
He said the bank finance is projected to create 8'130 new permanent jobs lasting more than three years, and 1'693 temporary jobs. Of these, 645 permanent jobs are projected in small-and medium enterprises.
Shiimi said the reduction of collateral requirements is now provided for under the collateral guarantee scheme for SMEs, and a skills-based lending facility for youth entrepreneurs has been launched.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the Namibian government was forced to undertake fiscal consolidation measures to ensure macro-economic stability with declining government revenue since 2015/16.
By the time the economy was starting to recover, Covid-19 emerged, plunging the country in a renewed downward cycle.
Namibia's economy declined by eight percent in 2020.
Shiimi said the government is now formulating a comprehensive post-pandemic economic growth strategy that is centred on economic diversification, which will be announced during the 2021 mid-term budget review.
Investment in talent
Shiimi denied accusations that the government is not investing enough in talent and innovative programmes.
He said programmes like the Credit Guarantee Scheme, and the youth skill-based lending facility were established to promote SMEs and youth businesses.
Investment in agriculture
All opposition parties have bemoaned the N$1.7 billion allocated to the agricultural sector, as compared to other sectors, like the defence sector.
Shiimi said government interventions are mainly for infrastructure and services to address supply side constraints and enable the private sector to invest in production and agro-processing, while leveraging value chains.
He said government in recent years has invested N$5.6 billion in the construction of the Neckertal Dam.
Moreover, N$1.8 billion was availed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) for financing bulk water supply and refurbishment of water distribution infrastructure, of which N$489 million is earmarked for such activities in the 2021/22 financial year.
German bank KfW has also availed N$2.4 billion for the same purpose.
Shiimi said the government's contribution towards water infrastructure development is N$1.5 billion. A total investment outlay in the water sector is estimated to be over N$5.7 billion over the next five years.
Agribank has also introduced its Covid-19 stimulus and relief package, which started in June last year and runs until the end of this May. To date, 229 relief applications have been approved.
Agribank has similarly extended N$200 million in new loans, benefiting 7'800 farmers, Shiimi said.
Commercial banks disbursed loans totalling N$18.1 billion to the agricultural sector by the end of last year, which is five percent of all loan disbursements.
High allocation to the Presidency
Shiimi said the additional N$125.5 million to the N$490.5 million to the Office of the President is for the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), a new institution that will now reside under that office.
He said this is to rekindle economic growth by attracting foreign direct investment and domestic private sector investment.
Flat government expenditure and declining revenue
Government revenue in 2013/14 was recorded at N$42.4 billion. In 2021/22, it is estimated at N$52.5 billion, which is N$10 billion more.
Shiimi said what is now important is to focus on finding the right ingredients to grow the economy.
Low budget to sports, youth, national services
While acknowledging low allocations to sports, youth, and national services, Shiimi said there are also other provisions that provides assistance to youth programmes.
MTC share sales
Shiimi defended Government's plans to sell lucrative MTC shares to private players, saying this is a worldwide trend.
“As the telecommunications industry develops and the strategic needs of the state are met, governments should slowly reduce their participation in the sector to create space for the private sector,” he said.
Shiimi denied not having informed Parliament of foreign loans, as opposition parties have claimed.
He said he has on numerous occasions stated that the budget deficit will be financed through a combination of domestic and external borrowing.
Office of the Auditor-General
The Office of the Auditor-General is requesting a budget allocation of N$108.3 million for the 2021/2022 financial year.
This amount is for three main programme areas this office intends to pursue.
These areas include the:
- Public Expenditure Oversight at N$69.4 million
- Independent and Legal Framework at N$2.1 million
- Policy Co-ordination and Support Services at N$36.8 million
The Office of the Auditor-General is responsible for the auditing of the state revenue fund.
During the 2020/2021 financial year, it tabled 62 audit reports for local authorities and regional councils, public offices, ministries, agencies, and funds. It also tabled two performance audit reports covering hazardous waste management and air quality monitoring.
Further, it produced 64 audits for local authorities and regional councils, exceeding its targets by 148%. Most of these local and regional structures (80%) have implemented the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) financial framework. It reported a 100% compliance by regional councils.
Performance and environmental audits conducted during the previous financial year were for hazardous waste management, air quality monitoring, overcrowding of correctional facilities, lack of police vehicles, the finalisation of criminal cases within magistrate's courts, and government's response to Covid-19.
The Office intends to finalise 94 audit reports for the 2021/2022 financial year. It also intends to do 66 assets inspection processes, as well as a cumulative 12 specialised audit reports.
The environmental audits planned for 2021/2022 are the implementation of the school feeding programme, disease outbreak, water demand management, the agricultural ministry's food programme, and youth unemployment.
Three standalone compliance audits will be conducted on the Maintenance Act and the Public Procurement Act.
Ministry of Works and Transport
An amount of N$2.5 billion is requested for the Ministry of Works and Transport for the 2021/2022 financial year.
A N$783 million is for railways network development, maintenance and rehabilitation.
For the formulation of the transportation policy and regulation oversight, an amount of N$52.5 million is allocated.
This includes the construction of new standard testing centres, a pilot implementation for non-motorised transport facilities, the promotion of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), and other operational expenditures for the business development of transport corridors.
For airport transport administration, N$201.5 million is requested.
This covers aircraft accident investigations (N$7.4 million), government air transport services (N$68.5 million), and civil aviation air navigation services (N$125.7 million).
A N$27.2 million is allocated for maritime legislation administration, delivered in line with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) instruments relating to flag, port, and coastal state obligations.
For meteorological services, N$52.7 million is allocated.
The government garage centralised support services administration programme is allocated N$70.6 million.
The public works programme requires N$520.5 million.
The allocations under this department are the following:
- Government construction buildings N$47.8 million
- Provision of Office Accommodation N$105.9 million
- Maintenance of Government Properties N$216.7 million
- Provision of Centralised Services (Government Stores) N$31.2 million
- Provision of Horticultural Services N$9.8 million
- Policy Coordination, Supervision and Support Services N$81.2 million
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Ministry of Urban and Rural Development
An amount of N$1.6 billion is requested for the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development for 2021/2022, of which N$580 million is for the development budget.
- Regional and Local Government and Traditional Authorities
For support and enhancement of operational and service delivery of regional councils and local authorities, N$894.7 million is requested.
Hereunder, an urban land reform programme is to be developed.
- Enhancement of Public Participation in Development, Planning and Decision-making (Decentralisation)
A budgetary allocation of N$12.6 million is made for the decentralisation programme. The ministry has facilitated the decentralisation of the functions of primary healthcare and related functions under the health ministry.
It has also facilitated the decentralisation functions of social pensions like old age and disability grants, and funeral benefits under the gender equality ministry.
- Support to Habitat and Housing Development
This year, N$510.5 million is earmarked for various interventions to secure availability of basic municipal infrastructure and services, as well as the provision of low-cost housing.
- Rural Development
N$79 million is to be allocated for this programme, which assists with rural sanitation, self-help income and employment initiatives, and the construction of rural development centres.
Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources
The fisheries ministry is allocated N$191.4 million for the 2021/2022 financial year, of which N$174 million is for operations, and N$17.4 million for the development budget.
This ministry runs six main programme areas.
- Survey and Stock Assessment
This is for collecting research data for the commercially harvested species and the maintenance of research infrastructure.
Additionally, routine scientific surveys and field activities are being conducted.
This year, the ministry will conduct an orange roughy biomass survey to assess the status of the resource and decide whether the stock has recovered adequately to resume commercial exploitation of this species.
Also, a biomass survey of sardines is planned this year after the three-year moratorium has lapsed.
For activities under this programme, N$38,6 million is requested.
- Human Resource Development
An amount of N$37.8 million is requested for this programme.
- Maritime and Inland Monitoring, Control and Surveillance
This programme oversees the combating of illegal, unprotected, and unregulated fishing activities within Namibia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as well as inland water bodies.
For this, N$66.8 million is allocated.
- Promotion of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries
N$34,3 million is allocated for the development and maintenance of aquaculture and sustainable utilisation of inland fisheries resources.
This programme sustains eight fish farms across the country.
- Policy and Economic Advice
An amount of N$11.1 million is requested for this programme, which includes coordination and implementation of the national development plans, the second Harambee Prosperity Plan, and the finalisation of the Blue Economy policy and framework in the fisheries sector.
- Coordination and Support Services
This programme oversees policies and operation regarding fisheries management. A N$2.7 million is requested for it.
A further N$17.4 million is allocated for the ministry's six developmental projects that produce fingerlings for fish farmers in the country.
Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform is allocated N$1.7 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year.
Of this, N$1.3 billion is to go towards agriculture and land reform. N$465.3 million is for water provision.
Minister Calle Schlettwein said the allocation is not enough for the sector to reach its full potential.
The sector is recovering from severe drought, it experienced a foot and mouth outbreak, and the country is battling a locust infestation.
“One can compare the current status of the sector to a cow that is recovering from drought, but now has to battle foot and mouth attack while the fresh grazing she depends on is diminished by locusts. The cow needs care and nursing,” Schlettwein pleaded.
Of the N$1.3 billion, a total of N$392.4 million is for development projects in the agricuture and land reform sectors.
N$863.5 million is for operational expenditures.
The livestock production programme for the improvement of animal health and marketing in the northern central area (NCA) is allocated N$96.2 million.
Crop and horticulture production gets N$143.2 million, which is inclusive of the Namibia Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Programme (NAMSIP), which is allocated N$53 million.
The land reform programme gets N$119.7 million to address land acquisition for resettlement purposes, the rehabilitation of farm infrastructure on these farms, and the development of land in communal areas through programmes to integrate communities into the mainstream economy and the provision of secure land tenure in informal settlements through the implementation of the flexible land tenure system.
An amount of N465.3 million goes towards the improvement of water supply security and bulk water supply infrastructure, as well as the sanitation policy and programme.
For water infrastructure development, maintenance and rehabilitation, N$186.6 million is earmarked.
The ministry has also secured N$1.8 billion funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to address bulk and rural water supply needs of the country.
N$2.9 million is allocated for the construction of at least 250 sanitation facilities in rural areas.
Ministry of Public Enterprises
The Ministry of Public Enterprises is requesting a N$733.4 million budget allocation for 2021/2022, which is a reduction from N$808.8 million the previous financial year due to Air Namibia's liquidation.
This ministry was established to bring about reform in public enterprises; its mandate is to position parastatals as key contributors to Namibia's economic growth.
Minister Leon Jooste said the ministry has since its inception followed a very specific sequence of processes to do that.
First, it gathered accurate up-to-date data on the public enterprises, after which several targeted benchmarking missions were charted for the way forward.
He said from the research and benchmarking, it has become obvious that the governance model was “severely flawed” and that it was imperative to centralise the ownership of these enterprises.
The Public Enterprises Governance Act No 1 of 2019 was promulgated and operationalised in December 2019.
This has put the ministry in a position to take direct responsibilities for the portfolio of 24 commercial public enterprises (CPEs) that have a combined asset value of N$82 billion, and N$43 billion liabilities, which gives a net asset value of N$39 billion.
These public enterprises employ 25'000 people.
Jooste said it has become critical to expedite the reform of the CPEs in line with the High-level Panel on the Namibian Economy (HLPNE) as adopted by Cabinet.
* The three categories of Public Enterprises:
Total Net Asset Value
Funds & Financial Institutions
An amount of N$571.8 million is allocated for legal, economic, and financial advisory services.
Of this, N$11.8 million is for operational activities, primarily on ensuring the Public Enterprises Governing Act is operationalised and implemented.
N$560 million is allocated for government support to CPEs as follows:
Commercial Public Enterprises
Air Namibia (liquidation related costs)
Namibia Institute of Pathology
Namibia Wildlife Resorts
Agricultural Business Development
Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency
Roads Construction Company
Epagelo Mining Company
Lüderitz Waterfront Development Company
A N$161.6 million is for policy coordination and support services. Of this, N$135 million is provisionally allocated to TransNamib to address challenges associated with its equity in the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre.
N$26.6 million is for the ministry's administrative functions.
Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare
This ministry is requesting N$5.5 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year, of which the bulk (N$5.4 billion) is to go into operations, and N$24 million for the development budget.
The development budget is for the construction and renovation of homes of safety and shelters, the renovation and maintenance of the Namibia Children's Home and After School Centre, construction of community empowerment centres, and the construction of regional and constituency offices.
For operations, the minister's office is allocated N$7.2 million, and N$147.6 million for administration and general services.
The gender equality and women's empowerment programme, which includes projects aimed at combating gender-based violence, and trafficking in persons, is allocated N$27.4 million.
An amount of N$45 million is earmarked for the community development and poverty eradication programme.
This project aims to improve support for micro-businesses involved in income generating activities, and support for early childhood development centres.
The childcare and protection programme is to get N$70.5 million. This programme also includes food rations for the Namibia Children's Home and After School Centre.
The ministry further plans to provide basic logistical support to Farm Kaukurus No 79 Unit B, a resettlement farm the ministry acquired for children living and working on the streets.
For this, N$2.3 million is requested.
The bulk of the ministry's operational budget allocation (88.5%, or N$5 billion) is for social protection services, which includes social assistance, funeral benefits, and food provision to eligible beneficiaries.
Included in this are social grants to pensioners and people living with disabilities, child welfare grants, the food bank programme, and funeral cover.
The disability affairs programme is allocated N$20.4 million.
An amount of N$28 million is allocated for policy, planning and research.
The support for marginalised communities programme is allocated N$88 million. Assistance is mainly in the form of support for basic to tertiary education for marginalised communities.
Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security
This ministry is requesting N$5.7 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year, of which N$421.1 million is to go towards infrastructure development.
An amount of N$123.9 million is requested for the regulation of Namibia's population register, which includes recording births, deaths, marriages,the issuance of identity documents, and the digitisation of records.
For its immigration control programme, the ministry asks for N$203.6 million, and N$11.3 million for the refugee management programme.
NAMIBIA POLICE FORCE
There are five main programmes listed for the national police force:
- Combating of crime N$3.6 billion
- VIPs Protection N$363.7 million
- Training and Development N$83.6million
- Forensic Services N$25.3 million
- ICT Management N$80 million
NAMIBIA CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
This programme, which runs three main activities – safe custody, rehabilitation and reintegration, coordination of services – is requesting N$429.9 million.
Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade
The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) is requesting a budget allocation of N$147.6 million for the 2021/2022 financial year: N$112.2 million for operations and N$48 million for its development budget.
Overall, this is a nine percent (N$16 million) deduction from the previous budget.
The bulk of the operational budget goes towards personnel expenditure (N$64.4 million).
The rest goes towards goods and services (N$19 million), and subsidies and other current transfers (N$29 million).
The development budget is for the construction of industrial premises (N$16.5 million); construction of garment factories (N$12 million); for the special industrialisation programme (N$5 million); an agro-processing development (N$3.2 million); a product development and group purchasing project (N$2 million); the gemstone and jewellery development programme (N$1 million); and for the construction of a testing and inspection centre (N$8 million).
The three agencies under the ministry get the following: Namibian Standards Institution (N$10 million); Namibia Competition Commission (N$7 million); and the Business Intellectual and Property Authority (N$2 million).
This ministry is tasked to, amongst others, increase trade and commerce related activities, attract investment, and to develop and expand the country's industrial base.
The investment part of its mandate is now largely under the Office of the President with the establishment of the Namibia Investment Promotion Development Board (NIPDB) that replaces the Namibia Investment Centre.
Under the growth-at-home strategy, the ministry has identified seven sectors as relevant in achieving industrialisation.
These sectors include the garment and textile industry; automotive industry; biomass and bio-fuel industry, especially coal manufacturing; pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic, sanitary and hygiene industry; hides, skin and leather processing; and gemstones and jewellery polishing.
Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation
Namibia's ministry of higher education is asking for a N$3.1 billion allocation for the 2021/2022 financial year.
A total of N$882 million is to go to the University of Namibia (UNAM), N$493.6 million to the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), and N$1.2 billion to the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
A N$402.5 million is requested for vocational training centres.
There are currently 68'757 students enrolled in higher education institutions, and 34'920 at vocational training centres.
NSFAF has awarded 32'849 loans to students at local and foreign institutions.
Moreover, a total of N$22 million is requested for the ministry's coordination and support programme.
The ministry has started to review existing policies for the education and training sector.
The National Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and the National Space Science and Technology Policy have already been approved by Cabinet.
Others are yet to be tabled to Cabinet.
The ministry is also looking into the construction of a student village in Windhoek's Khomasdal suburb.
For research, science, technology, and innovation, an amount of N$33 million is requested.
For its national commission for UNESCO programme, the ministry is requesting N$13.4 million.
Namibia is chairing the Africa Group and drives initiatives to Agenda 2063 in five fields of competence of UNESCO.
One of these is the World Press Freedom Day that will be commemorated in Windhoek from 29 April to 3 May.
Namibia will also participate in the 41st session of the UNESCO General Conference at the end of 2021 in Paris, France.
The Namibia National Commission for UNESCO will celebrate its 30th anniversary in January 2022.
Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
The education ministry is requesting a N$13.8 billion budget allocation for the 2021/2022 financial year.
This is 5.1% lower than the previous allocation despite the high allocation by international standards, averaging 20% of the national budget over the past seven years in line with the Dakar threshold, a commitment made by African governments.
The allocation to the operational budget is N$13.4 billion, and N$402.8 million for the development budget.
The allocations per programme are as follows:
- Pre-primary education N$406.4 million
- Primary education N$8.3 billion
- Secondary education N$3.9 billion
- Information, Adult, Lifelong Learning, Arts, and Culture N$448.7 million
- HIV/AIDS Unit N$2.2 million
- Policy coordination and support services N$728.4 million
Notwithstanding the huge allocation to basic education, the ministry has expressed concern over the outcomes, which are not congruent to the level of investment being ploughed into this sector.
For this reason, the ministry has unpacked the cost drivers to figure out mitigating approaches.
Textbooks and material supplies got N$35 million during the previous financial year.
Contrary to that, catering at public school hostels for 2021/2022 amounts to N$582 million for 65'000 learners, or eight percent of the total learner population of 800'000.
The ministry said this in itself shows a gross inequality, which may require parents and guardians to increase their current contributions for the upkeep of their children in hostels. It may also require the establishment of a hostel development fund.
The ministry has started to reclassify hostels to determine hostel feeds and development fund adjustments.
82% of the total budget allocation goes to the ministry's wage bill.
The ministry employs 40% of all public servants. Of these, 26'640 are teaching staff, and 12'102 are unified staff.
The ministry is considering freezing non-critical posts on the unified structure, while the number of posts mainly on the unified structure has been reduced.
Staff reductions have also been done at small and non-economical schools with less than 100 learners in some regions.
Expenditure on utilities has also been cut with the installation of pre-paid water and electricity metres.
To cut costs on construction work, the ministry is now working on a pro bono basis with Direct Design Lab (DDL) through its Friends of Education Namibia Special Initiative (FENSI) to develop an accelerated infrastructure plan to serve as a blueprint for all future construction projects.
With a huge repetition (125'000 learners in one year) and drop-out (32'000) rates, the ministry has calculated a loss of close to N$2 billion of investment per year.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Last year learners lost half of their school year out of 198 days due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In response, the ministry has developed a resilience plan for 2021 to 2023, which focuses on learning outcomes.
This plan includes interventions such as the streamlining and rationalising of curricula, the use of cohort systems, shifts or alternate days for school attendance, the introduction of blended learning (using both on-line and face-to-face teaching), distribution of learning materials through the media, and a downward revision of promotion requirements.
There was also an N$800 million allocation for Covid-19 infrastructure development.
Ministry of Health and Social Services
The Ministry of Health and Social Services is requesting an N$8.1 billion budget allocation for the 2021/2022 financial year.
Of this, N$7.7 billion is to go to operational expenditure, and n$360.5 million to development expenditure.
The allocation to the different programmes, is as follows:
- Health system planning and management N$39.9 million
- Curative and clinical healthcare N$7.4 billion
- Public health N$101.9 million
- Developmental social welfare N$22 million
- Policy coordination and support N$54 million
During the previous financial year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Namibia, and additional N$727 million was availed to the health ministry.
Ministry of Mines and Energy
The Ministry of Mines and Energy is requesting a budget allocation of N$212.4 million for the 2021/2022 financial year to be distributed amongst six programme areas.
These programmes are:
- Promotion of investment in exploration N$24.6 million
The re-drafting of the Mining Act and Diamond Act are to be finalised this year.
The ministry is also exploring the introduction of an on-line mineral rights application system.
It plans to do more towards the enforcement of laws and conditions of licences.
- Creation of knowledge of geological resources N$54.1 million
For the current financial year, the ministry aims to improve its understanding of the geological character and mineral potential of the //Karas and Kunene regions.
- Protection of the diamond industry N$10.9 million
The ministry intends to enhance beneficiation of locally produced diamonds in support of the growth-at-home strategy.
It will similarly revise diamond licenses application criteria and conditions, and intensify inspection and monitoring of the diamond value chain activities.
- Energy security of supply N$62.7 million
The ministry will oversee the implementation of three new Solar PV power plants with a capacity of 45 megawatts.
It also envisages the electrification of about 36 rural schools with N$44 million allocated towards the rural electrification programme.
- Petroleum security of supply N$11.2 million
More work is to be done to attract and retain investors in the petroleum upstream sector, while the ministry will continue to regulate the downstream petroleum industry.
Following concerns over the proliferation of retail fuel stations that has the potential to threaten the sustainability of the sector, the ministry has reviewed its licensing guidelines and conditions.
The ministry is also addressing the threat from illegal importation of fuel from Angola.
- Policy coordination and support services N$48.9 million
Part of the allocation here will go towards the upgrade and expansion of the ICT infrastructure of the ministry.
During the 2020/2021 financial year, the Diamond Act and the Mining Act were amended to align them with international best practices.
More legislative review is in the offing, which is aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability in the management and award of mineral rights.
Some substantive changes considered in the review include the introduction of compulsory local ownership in mineral licenses, mineral beneficiation, and mine closure plans.
Regarding local ownership, the ministry has introduced some administrative changes.
Since April this year, Namibians who have been awarded minerals exploration and prospecting licences (EPLs) and wish to dilute their ownership to foreign investors, can only do so providing that they retain at least 15% ownership.
As far as electricity supply goes, the ministry was able to electrify 33 rural public institutions like schools and clinics at a cost of N$42 million. It has also electrified more than 500 rural households at N$10 million.
Last year, the much-vaunted national oil storage facility at Walvis Bay was completed and handed over to the national oil company, Namcor, which will operate it on behalf of the state.
Namcor received its first fuel shipment last December.
This facility has a fuel storage capacity of 75 million litres, boosting stock holding capacity from 10 to 45 days.
Other News Namibia
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
A budgetary allocation of N$354 million to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology for the 2021/2022 financial year.
The core mandate of this ministry is to coordinate, manage, and disseminate government information, and to promote the use and development of ICTs infrastructure.
For its information and communication technology development programme, the ministry has budgeted N$8.7 million.
Under this programme, a digital strategy was approved by Cabinet last year. Also, a review of ICT policies and possible consolidation into a uniform national ICT policy is on the cards.
There is also work being done on the Cybercrime Bill and the Data Protection Bill that have been approved by Cabinet. It is expected that these two Bills will be tabled during this financial year.
The print media affairs programme is to get N$34.3 million. This programme facilitates access to government information and nurture a symbiotic relationship between the ministry and the local and international media.
The government and UNESCO are hosting a global conference of the World Press Freedom Day, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration that calls for a diverse and plural free media.
This event takes place from 29 April to 3 May in Windhoek, Namibia.
A Government Social Media Use Policy, Government Communication Plan and Crises Communication Plan are also being finalised.
Through these, all public relations officers in all government structures are expected to communicate information on government plans, policies, and projects to internal and external stakeholders.
State-owned newspaper New Era Publications Corporation was allocated N$10 million. The Southern Times, which is co-owned by the Namibian and Zimbabwean governments, has received N$5 million.
Also under this programme, the Nationhood and National Pride (NNP) programme national strategic framework and its implementation plan for 2020 to 2025 were developed. This initiative got N$1 million.
An amount of N$188 million is allocated to the audio-visual media and regional offices programme.
Hereunder state-owned Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was allocated N$123.7 million, and the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) got N$14.1 million.
The Namibia Film Commission (NFC) got N$3 million.
An amount of N$119 million goes to the coordination and support programme.
Of this, N$38 million is earmarked for the ministry's operational activities.
N$81 million is for the ministry's development budget.
The ministry is building offices at Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West and Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region at a cost of N$23 million.
The remaining N$58 million will be made available for the refurbishment of the NBC's studio equipment and network upgrades.