WINDOEK - Government has increased the budget allocation to emergency drought responses under the Office of the Prime Minister from N$92.86 million to N$123.5 million.
Namibia has been experiencing frequent and successive outbreaks of natural disasters such as drought. Drought contributes to reduced asset base and food insecurity at household level due to abridged household resilience to disaster impact.
Thus the government has established a disaster-risk management structure to coordinate assistance to disaster-affected communities. The government has allocated an amount of N$123.5 million, which is an increase from the previous allocation of N$92.86 million,
for the coordination of disaster risk management. This was revealed by Samuel Chief Ankama, Deputy Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, when he introduced the budget statement for the Office of the Prime Minister in the National Assembly to seek the house’s approval for the appropriation of estimates of expenditure for the financial year 2019/20.
Coordination of Disaster Risk Management is one of the seven programmes under the Office of the Prime Minister. Under this programme, the office provides emergency drought responses.
Ankama said this allocation is increased to enable government to fund the drought relief interventions, as recently announced, including relief to households, livestock drought support (livestock marketing incentives, core herd support of fodder and licks). The crop assessment report, recently released, shows that due to the low rainfall pattern in the country many communities will not be able to yield good harvests, which necessitates the need for drought relief and the introduction of livestock support.
In this regard, Ankama said the details would be announced later.
As a result of extremely poor rainfall, provisional crop estimates indicate that all crop-producing areas are expecting massive reductions in the expected harvests.
Aggregate cereal (maize, pearl millet, sorghum) production shows that Namibia can expect a reduction in harvest of at least 53 percent of last season’s harvest and over 42 percent below the average production.
The report states this reduction is largely attributed to the general poor rainfall received during the 2018/2019 rainfall season.
The minister confirmed that government has since late last year started with drought relief assistance to affected households in the pocket areas of Aminuis constituency in Omaheke Region, Daures constituency, Karibib in Erongo Region, Gibeon in //Kharas Region, Ovitoto in Omatako constituency and Khorixas and Kamanjab constituencies in Kunene Region.
“This operation is activated to prevent devastating impact of drought in identified communities. Under this programme, an allocation of N$4 million is also provided for the Namibia Red Cross Society, in order to support their programmes aimed at providing relief to communities affected by disasters,” he revealed.
The budget allocation for the Office of the Prime Minister for the 2019/20 financial year amounts to N$459.4 million, compared to a revised budget of N$363.7 million in the previous financial year.
Its operational budget stands at N$440.5 million, while the development budget is N$18.9 million.
Ankama called for speedy implementation of the mentioned plans and programmes to ensure that service delivery is enhanced, and that public services are timely and efficiently provided.
“We are in a financial challenge, where every cent counts. In this regard, wastage must be avoided at all costs,” he cautioned.
2019-04-30 08:55:56 19 days ago