While more than half a million needy Namibians were approved for the emergency income grant (EIG) of N$750, hordes of the more than 394 000 unsuccessful applicants continue to inundate the Ministry of Finance with queries as to why they have not benefited from the Covid-19 relief grant. Since the opening of the EIG SMS line on 14 April 2020, a total of 970 720 applications were received of which 576 104 applicants were approved for payment to the tune of N$432 078 million.
Payments have already been made to more than 500 000 applicants while the remaining payments for approved applicants are in the process of disbursement.
However, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu says that every day he has to deal with crowds of EIG applicants who have either been rejected or have not yet received their money.
“Some of these people are those who were rejected on the basis of appearing in the tax register, despite having told them to wait while we are reconciling the data, they keep coming. Some are angry and claim that they have nothing to eat at home,” Shidhudhu told New Era.
“Verification and reconciliation of data is a tedious process and we appeal to the public to give us time and we can also assure them that no qualified applicants will be left out. Once we are done, we will inform them about the status of their applications. It is drama every morning at the Ministry of Finance. Some demand to see Shidhudhu or the minister. Some think Shidhudhu is the one holding their grants and have taken to attacks on social media. But I can understand their frustration, the process might be taking long but we are trying to make sure that the money goes to the right people and does not go to the wrong people.”
Applications for the EIG ended at midnight on 30 April 2020, meaning that no new applications will be accepted.
In a statement, Shidhudhu noted that a large number of applicants were rejected for various reasons that included ID numbers belonging to deceased persons, mismatches of names and ID numbers with official records, names found in NSFAF record of active recipients as well as social grant records and the taxpayers register.
Shidhudhu stated that more than 127 000 of the rejected applicants are those with the names not matching with ministry of home affairs records, followed by over 124 000 rejected on the basis of appearing on the taxpayers register.
Said he: “Some applications were put on hold because more than two applicants have indicated to receive their grants on the same mobile number. Other applications put on hold are those where one ID number is used in more than one different application.”
He explained that to avert potential fraud and also to allow individuals to abide by social distancing, the ministry has communicated, through MTC, to various categories of applicants to reapply between 5 and 8 May 2020. Those encouraged to reapply include applicants whose IDs might have been used more than once, and those whose details are rejected because of incorrect ID number or surname.
“The ministry appeals to all applicants who were rejected on the basis of appearing on the taxpayers’ register to remain patient as the ministry is carrying out a data reconciliation process.
“Once finalised, such applicants will be notified on the status of their applications. These applicants are advised to remain home, while this temporary problem is being resolved. In the case of more than two applicants who have used one cell phone to apply or to be paid, the modalities for self-verification will be communicated to the applicants as to how such verification could be made so that large gatherings are avoided,” read the statement.
Close to 120 000 applicants that were approved for payment towards the end of last week are expected to continue receiving their grants this week.
“Although the Ministry of Finance has set 8 May 2020 as the due date for verification, applicants are informed not to panic as no applicant will be left out without being considered.
“The verification and data reconciliations are tedious processes that will require time as the ministry wants to ensure that the grant goes to the right people and also that it does not go to the wrong people. We would therefore like to request for patience and understanding in this regard.”
2020-05-07 10:37:46 | 6 months ago