WINDHOEK – Government yesterday responded to the nation’s outcry over a call for a once-off voluntary payment from the country’s workforce by emphasizing that no one will be victimised if they elected not to contribute.
The call for voluntary contributions initially targets public office bearers and civil servants, with those in the private sector also to be requested.
The call to volunteer this money has caused uproar this week, after a letter by the Office of the Prime Minister to trade, unions entered the public domain on Wednesday.
Spokesperson in the Office of the Prime Minister Saima Shaanika said as with the case when a state of national disaster was declared, their office had individuals from both local and international partners who volunteered to make contributions.
“So the spirit of giving is already among us. An opportunity is now given to all Namibians who are employed to make their voluntary contributions,” Shaanika said at a media briefing held in Windhoek.
“Government is indeed calling upon Namibians to support national efforts aimed at assisting our compatriots who are affected by the drought to cope with the effects of the drought, as well as to increase opportunities for job creation, especially for our youth,” she stated.
Shaanika says Cabinet at its fourth meeting held on 19 March 2019 endorsed a proposal that due to prevailing economic situation a two percent once-off salary reduction for Political Office Bearers and Civil Servants in the Management Cadre (Grade 1-8) be implemented in the 2019/20 financial year.
She said this call was also made by President Hage Geingob during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in April.
“As the President indicated in his statement, Cabinet members have already confirmed their commitment to contribute two percent of their salary for a period of one year to support the said initiatives, while non-executive parliamentarians were still being consulted,” she said.
She said Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila met both the General Secretary of Napwu and the secretary general of Nantu to convey this message to them on 8 April 2019.
“The other stakeholders, including those from the corporate sector, are also being consulted in this regard. The government will announce the progress on and the outcome of the various consultations at a later stage,” Shaanika said.
For the political office bearers who have already agreed to this initiative, Shaanika said the process has commenced to have the money deducted from their salaries.
However, she said for the rest of the country, consultation has to first take place and consensus reached before an effective date is determined.
As for the public sector, she said this initiative is expected to raise an estimated amount based on the 117 000 employees in the public sector.
She said figures from the private sector will only become available once the consultation process is finalised.
She said the proceeds of the initiative would be ring-fenced and directed to address the plight facing our people due to drought.
“All funds collected by the government are subjected to audit by the Audit General,” she added. National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) yesterday rejected the two percent proposal calling upon government to cut its “blooded cabinet” including State House “decorated and over glorified so called advisers”. Nudo Secretary General Josef Kauandenge said it defies logic how a government that is in tune with the living conditions of its citizens can propose this idea in the first place.
“This government appetite for wasteful spending and glowing spending on top officials and politicians is already a turn off for any right thinking Namibian,” he said.
“This government cannot in all seriousness expect sympathy now after years of mismanaging this country and having rendering our economy useless,” he added.
Landless People's Movement (LPM) Deputy Leader Henny Seibeb yesterday said although he recognises that there is severe drought, Geingob instead of asking two percent voluntary contribution, he should cut down on Cabinet size and reduce the number of ministers to 12.
He also advised Geingob to eliminate the Vice-President position, as there is already a Prime Minister and to relieve all deputy ministers from their duties and save on salaries benefits and subsistence and travel allowances.
“These layers are too heavy and serves more as bureaucratic rather than adding values,” said the vocal leader of the new political party.
2019-05-24 09:14:14 3 months ago