The Ministry of Finance has come to the defence of the emergency income grant that is currently being rolled out to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 on the less privileged.
In a statement, finance spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu said the N$750 being paid to citizens was being done in the spirit of humanity. “Some quarters of the society are of the opinion that the grant will not be utilised for intended purpose and government should have spent the funds on other projects that benefit the collective population,” said Shidhudhu.
“We wish to point out that the decision to provide this targeted grant at this extraordinary time to people who lost their income in both formal and informal sectors as well as to the unemployed persons was taken in the spirit of humanity, taking into consideration the poverty level in our country and social circumstances caused by the lockdown.”
Shidhudhu took issue with those suggesting that the grants being dished out by government would be abused on unnecessary commodities such as alcohol. “It is despicable for some people in privileged positions to think that money given to the low-income population would always be abused on alcohol and other unnecessary commodities,” he said. “This section of our population only depend on their daily micro earnings and life has become difficult, as the movements of people are restricted.
We believe the grant will go a long way in contributing to their daily struggle to put bread on their tables and attend to critical needs such as medicines and other household necessities.” The grant payment, which is once-off, would be evaluated once government elects to extend the lockdown, the ministry said yesterday. “Government will re-valuate the situation and redirect support to the critically affected areas depending on the availability of funds.”