WINDHOEK – The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation wants to acquire own diplomatic mission premises instead of renting in host countries, it said last week.
The move would curb costs, the minister said in her budget motivation speech in the National Assembly last week.
Rental costs are extremely high in foreign countries, the minister said, and the move would help generate revenue in order to ease pressure on Treasury.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah made these remarks during the budget motivation of N$941.3 million allocated to the ministry for the 2019/2020 financial year, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Out of the N$941.3 million, 15 percent of the total budget which is N$145 million is earmarked for the development budget.
This amount will be utilised for capital projects at headquarters and at diplomatic missions and posts abroad.
“For example, where possible, space at chanceries will be rented out to generate income. This revenue will then be partly utilised for the operations of our diplomatic missions and posts,” she proposed.
The remaining 85 percent, which translates to N$796.3 million, is allocated for the operational budget and is split for utilisation for various programmes of the ministry.
Namibia maintains diplomatic relations with around 150 countries around the world. Through these bilateral relations, Namibia seeks to foster stronger political engagements, enhance bilateral cooperation, promote trade and investment, tourism and encourage people-to-people contact.
Acquisition as opposed to rental of diplomatic premises falls under the foreign missions’ representations, which is among the five programmes considered priority to be undertaken by the ministry during this financial year.
The objectives of the missions abroad are to promote and protect national interests, support the welfare of Namibian citizens abroad, and provide consular services to Namibians and students, tourists and business people, including potential investors.
The minister said this programme consumes the biggest portion of the ministry’s budget, therefore an amount of N$587.2 million has been allocated for the operational costs of Namibian missions or posts abroad.
She said resources appropriated for this programme would be utilised to enhance the functions of the 31 Namibian missions and three posts abroad, to carry out promotional activities as alluded to, lease offices and pay for staff accommodation and remuneration to both home-based and locally recruited staff, payment of school fees and medical costs for staff and their dependants, maintenance of vehicles, equipment, to name just a few.
“As we continue to broaden our diplomatic representation globally, and in order to serve better the needs of our people, I wish to announce that Namibia will commence with the process of opening an embassy in the United Arab Emirates and a general consulate in Lubumbashi, DRC during this financial year, under this programme,” she revealed.
Moreover, she noted the ministry will convene the 9th Heads of Mission Conference during this financial year in order to review the performances of Namibian diplomatic missions especially on its economic diplomacy.
She said the conference will also map out the most effective ways of implementing Namibia’s Policy on International Relations and Cooperation, in the best interest of the Namibian people.
Another crucial programme she highlighted is protocol and consular for which a proposed amount of N$14.2 million was allocated to this programme.
This programme is responsible for state protocol as well as the extension of privileges and immunities to diplomats, consular corps, members of international and regional organisations.
All the national events such as Independence Day celebrations, Cassinga, Heroes Day commemorations, state, official and heroes’ funerals are facilitated under this programme.
On request, this programme facilitates protocol training to relevant institutions in need, both at national and regional levels.
2019-04-29 08:59:11 4 months ago