ONGWEDIVA – People in large numbers countrywide queued outside ATMs and banks since early morning on Friday to withdraw their N$750 emergency income grant that is currently being rolled out to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 on the less privileged. The finance ministry last week released over N$110 million as part of the first batch of payments to assist the unemployed and those who have lost livelihoods because of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has forced the country to go into national lockdown.
One of the beneficiaries, Lovisa Shihepo, told New Era she received her N$750 on Thursday afternoon but only went to the ATM on Friday withdraw her grant.
“I didn’t run to the ATM because I thought I will find long queues; I am regretting this. I should have collected my money yesterday (Thursday). I came here at 06h00 in the morning – now it is almost 12h00 and I am still in the line,” she said outside a local ATM in Ongwediva.
The long queues were, however, frowned upon by many, who complained that people were violating social distancing regulation.
Eliaser Kalenga, who was standing in the queue but not for the N$750 grant, complained there was no social distancing at all. He said this was putting people at risk of contracting the virus.
“The government made a very big mistake by releasing this money at the same time; now people are gathering at the ATMs – they are not following the regulations,” said Kalenga.
Cash bonanza… Lavinia Nghilongwa from Olyavahenge village in Omusati region travelled to Oshakati to withdraw her N$750.