• June 6th, 2020

Disability sector 'underfunded'

WINDHOEK - The National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) feels the disability sector, starting with the disability department in the Office of the President, is not adequately funded compared to other departments, such as veterans affairs and marginalised communities in the same office.
These were the sediments of Elizabeth Namwandi, who spoke on behalf of NFPDN during President Hage Geingob’s town hall meeting last week at Ramatex.

Although Veterans Affairs, Marginalised Communities, and Disability Affairs divisions have a separate budget allocation, these units are still part of the presidency.
The departments of Veterans Affairs, Marginalised Communities, and Disability Affairs are allocated a total of N$685 million for the 2019/20 financial year. 

However, the disability department is only allocated N$18 million under the operational budget for the 2019/20 financial year, of which N$4 million is assigned to the National Disability Council of Namibia.
Minister of Presidential Affairs Martin Andjamba during the budget motivation said the Department of Disability Affairs in the Office of the Presidency is targeting to assist 1 000 persons with disabilities in the 2019/20 financial year. Andjamba said the Department of Disability Affairs is mandated to strengthen and coordinate the implementation of the national and international legal framework on disabilities, as well as to accelerate access to education, employment, and health, among other services
Namwandi, however, questioned why the disability in the Office of the Presidency is not funded adequately. 

She also wanted to know why persons with disabilities not given priorities in the resettlement programme such as women, youth and marginalised have scores yet persons with disabilities do not have specific scores like others.

“Why are they not given farms like the youth to operate their own projects and why are they not represented at the national land commission?” she queried.

On accessibility, she asked why is the public service institutions not employing sign language interpreters while knowing that they render services to the public which includes the deaf community and why are the policies and documents of the public service not in braille for easy reading by the visually impaired.
“However, this question goes without saying that, the accessibility to public infrastructure is not good, it is pathetic, it is just unacceptable,” she reacted.

The federation also wanted from Geingob as to how many persons with disabilities have he appointed on various decision-making platforms such as Cabinet ministers, ambassadors, high commissioners, special advisors, governors and commissioners of enquires.

She said the same question goes to Prime Minister Saara-Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste in terms of appointment of executive directors and board of directors of all public enterprises. The federation also wants government to create a special fund for learners and students with disabilities in order to ensure that learners with disabilities enroll at primary level and complete either the tertiary or vocational training level.

On sports, the federation feels paralympics sport codes have also brought gold medals to Namibia, yet they are the most underfunded.

“Why is it that the paralympics sport codes for persons with disabilities are the most underfunded, under-recognised and not given priority while excelling in their performance?” Namwandi questioned.

Albertina Nakale
2019-08-22 07:52:57 | 9 months ago

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