Albertina Nakale WINDHOEK - Member of the National Council and Kabbe South Constituency Councillor, John Likando is puzzled that the budget vote only allocates a total amount of N$8 million to the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF). “To my knowledge, this is extremely inadequate, the amount cannot even cover operational costs of an average state-owned enterprise. In some institutions, such an amount is the total salary of four executives. You can do the mathematics, an institution utilising N$8 million to attract more than N$1 billion in one year, of which 40 per cent of that comes through grants, money that does not have a debt effect. Surely, we must be strategic so as these kinds of institutions are positioned strategically to attract bigger amounts in this time of need,’’ he argued. Likando made the remarks during the budget debate of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism where the EIF falls under. The ministry has been allocated an amount of N$402 million for this financial year, of which N$337.8 million goes for operational budget and N$64.2 million has been set aside for developmental budget. Likando said the resources required to ensure a balanced development agenda that is both technologically and environmentally sound have been growing exponentially for Namibia. In this regard, he says the EIF play a pivotal role in Namibia’s development. Further, he noted the importance of the institution to a majority of Namibians and development agenda cannot be overemphasised, particularly since it does so by managing a shrinking annual budget. He said it is important as government plan to ensure that a vehicle as important as the EIF is adequately and strategically capitalised. He feels it only makes sense and good judgement from the National Council to recommend a budget increment to the EIF. “In a budgeting system that is tightening up because of the reasons that we are all familiar with, supporting State Owned Enterprises that attracts direct investments in the country should be a priority for Namibia. Imagine how much funding could the EIF attract if adequately capitalised. “Instead of bailing out institutions that do not bring back returns on investments, let us prioritise progressive ones and build on their success. This call goes beyond the Ministry of Environment and Tourism,” he recommended. The EIF has been able to mobilise approximately N$1.1 billion from the international community to support the country of which currently is benefiting more than 132 thousand people, mainly rural farmers who depend on natural resources for their livelihood. This, Likando says is indeed commendable. Just last month, the EIF Namibia accessed N$120 million in grant funding from the Green Climate Fund to address climate adaptation and droughts in important sectors such as agriculture for the Kunene Region. The EIF has done exceptionally well in accessing resources for the most vulnerable sectors to environmental degradation caused by climate change, as it continues bringing in financial resources for the country as per its originating mandate and roles identified in the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), he stated. As concerns for the environment grow, there is a shift globally and nationally towards green, climate resilient and low carbon development policies and pathways. However, he is hopeful that the allocated budget will bolster the opportunity to translate to a green, sustainable development pathway that prioritises climate change responses. “It is a well-known fact that Namibia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. We are now seeing the impacts that the changing climate is having on the very fabric of our society and economic development. Now more than ever, we need to build our resilience to climate change so that we ensure our water, energy and food security,” he noted.
2018-05-29 09:38:15 3 months ago