Leader of the official opposition McHenry Venaani has said upon closer inspection, the budget and its theme are merely smoke and mirrors as very little is allocated to activities and institutions that would truly benefit the youth bulge of the country’s population.
He said the budget fails to live up to its theme and raises serious eyebrows.
Venaani, who is the president of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), said this on Tuesday while contributing to the Appropriation Bill tabled by finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi in the National Assembly last month.
Shiimi last month tabled a N$61.5 billion budget for the 2022/23 financial year that indicated a total revenue projection of N$59.7 billion, some 11.7% higher than estimated revenue for the current financial year.
However, Venaani said there is a reason for cautious optimism, but the fact that this year’s budget allocation for the defence ministry is increased, completely contradicts the supposed youth-centred theme.
He said the youth ministry was allocated a measly N$330 million, whilst ministries such as veterans’ affairs received an allocation of N$871 million.
Additionally, he said the public safety and order sector received an exuberant 17.8% of the budget, marking it the third-largest allocation.
He said despite Shiimi’s best efforts to employ lame gimmicks such as showing up to parliament with a football team or attempting to mislead the country through titling his budget speech after a hot topical issue that requires urgent addressing, the budget fails to excite and completely underwhelms.
Admittedly, he said a youth-centred budget is belated and long overdue, however, the budget fails to directly and adequately address ballooning poverty and skyrocketing unemployment.
“There is a very noticeable absence of no strong determination for skills development, youth venture capital or access to loans. While the budget identifies and outlines the youth-specific matters that require addressing, the budget allocations and interventions fail to do so,” he said.
According to him, instead, the budgetary allocations for sectors such as safety and security increase, while all others decrease.
He said, “this begs the question; would the government rather deal with the internal safety and security (instability) as opposed to the widening inequality and poverty?”
“This budget is simply a stale, reactive and unprogressive and surface-level reaction to the realities that face the ordinary Namibian,” he said.
Disappointed… PDM leader McHenry Venaani.