Where do we get the money?

04 September 2015

The time has come for government to slow down on all the promises and the raising of expectations, and rather start telling us how it intends to fund some of these exciting national projects.

The dawn of the Geingob administration has ushered in a sense of hope and genuine belief that the average Namibian has a chance at prosperity, or at the very least getting out of extreme poverty.

 One the first indicators that change was on the horizon was the drastic increase in the old age pension, from N$600 to N$1000 in March this year.

Around the same time we witnessed the creation of an entire ministry aimed at eradicating poverty, and recently its Minister announced that government is strongly considering the introduction of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) for poor Namibians, who do not have access to old-age, disability and orphans and vulnerable children grants.

The nation has welcomed these initiatives of government to lighten the burden of some of the most down-trodden members of our society, however we have to ask if these rescue measures are sustainable.

Old age pension will not remain N$1000.00 for the next five years, it too will have to increase, and in the event we introduce BIG initially it will definitely have a significant impact on peoples livelihood, but what about in a years’ time?

If every person receives N$100.00 Namibian dollars through BIG in 2015, a year later when inflation has caught up with us, and the cost of living has gone up the N$100.00 will not have the effect it did a year ago.

Any sensible person will tell you that in order for BIG to have any long term effects on the war against poverty, the grant will have to increased annually and maybe even in proportion to inflation.

We are no longer talking about pocket change ladies and gentlemen.  Where will government get the money to sustain BIG, to keep increasing pension grants, to fund Mass Housing or the servicing of the 200 000 plots that have been promised.

The Office of the President remains mum on how exactly they intend to fund the servicing of 200 000 Ervin, and once this mammoth task is complete, will we witness the emergence of zinc roofed shanty towns?  We all know the average Namibian cannot afford to construct a standard low cost house or even afford the connection fees for services.

Just this week the Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein announced that government cannot afford to go ahead with the Kudu gas project.  We are yet to see if similar pronouncements will become more frequent starting with the new parliament building.

Is there really enough money to construct a new parliament, considering the other costly government projects on the table that are of much more national importance such as the railway, the Walvis Bay Harbor or the airports?

Don’t get us wrong, economic development and the improvement of Namibian lives is always welcome, but can Namibia afford to embark on all these missions at the same time?  If  we can, then please be so kind as tell us how.

The youth of this country should not only get excited when they hear government plans, but question what that translates into in terms of a rising national debt that mortgages a part of their future.

Everyone should be mindful that when times moves on and the current leadership has ended its duty, the rest of us would have inherited all the repercussions of their current decisions.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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