The Ovambanderu Traditional Authority chief Kilus Munyuku III Nguvauva has lamented the absence of vernacular languages on cellular text messages for the application process of the N$750 emergency income grant (EIG) intended to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
Coronavirus has caused a crisis for the world’s economy and pended the social order. In response, the Namibian government last week enacted a fiscal and monetary stimulus package to counteract the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
To fill the pockets of those affected by the virus, an estimated 739 000 income-starved Namibians will receive a once-off N$750 payment. The payments, according to treasury, were scheduled to start on Tuesday.
To qualify for the grant, one must be in the age bracket between 18 to 59 and lost their jobs or income in part or full in the informal sector of the economy as a result of the pandemic.
Also, the grant is for those who are unemployed, taking into consideration the effects of Covid-19 and related public health protective measures have weakened the means of support and subsistence income.
Nguvauva says the absence of the vernacular languages in the text will mean many could be left out in the grant being rolled out.
“In fact, the majority of my people here where I am do not even bother to take part in this exercise. They are saying they don’t understand the process since it is in English,” explained the former deputy works minister.
“What I want is for these massages to be translated into our vernaculars so that everyone can partake; ATMs do that – why can’t it be the same with this process,” said Nguvauva.
To benefit from the once-off EIG, a person is required to have or made use of an active cell phone number and a valid Namibian ID number. Applicants are expected to SMS “EIG” to 141222 to start the registration process, or dial *141*222#.
After the approval of the application by the ministry of finance, applicants will receive a token from the bank they have selected in the application process. The money will be sent to them via e-wallet, easy-wallet, blue-wallet or account number, depending on selection.