Salomo Ndeyamunye yaNdeshimona
On Monday 11th November 2019, The Namibian newspaper carried a news article under the heading “GIPF to pay out N$5.2 billion in benefit”.
As a postgraduate civil servant who is currently undertaking studies at an institution of higher learning toward attaining a PHD degree in a field related to my current civil servant job, I cannot help but hope and wish. Earlier this year, I applied for NSFAF funding together with thousand other postgraduates. Later on a preliminary list was released, and I made it into the list. As fate and bad luck would have it, a few days later a second list was released and my name was no longer in, obvious with many others.
Despite not given reason from NSFAF, I believe it’s due to that I am a civil servant, I have a job, and probably I can pay for my studies. These assumptions are not wrong at all, I mean am a civil servant. Despite all that, I too feel the pinch of the economy. I have a family to feed, self and extended family to care for. I have to attend classes most of times away from home; I have travelling, accommodation, food, books, and tuition fees to pay. I pay tax as a law abiding citizen, both VAT and income tax of course, and I am a GIPF member.
As a member of GIPF for more than 15 years, I have seen, and watched as my contribution is invested both good and bad, millions have been lost, and are said to be unrecoverable. As a servant of the people I will wait until I retire to get a share of my benefit from GIPF. Well it’s what their policy says, benefit only in death, loss of job, compromised or retirement of any kind, early or late.
To many of us civil servants, GIPF remains the only kind of investment I await upon to bail me out of poverty, help me invest into a business, or buy shares, help me buy an asset, become a farmer, which in many cases I will not enjoy for long as I am too old, frail, and might die soon. Yet as an active civil servant, I have strength, power, ideas and many opportunities. If I could borrow from my pension saving now, I could go into farming, and contribute to nations feeding, and building. I could start a business that could add value to the country, create employment, and help me start something with a lump sum other than borrowing to start a business, which could land me into debts.
Moreover, I also have other ideas, I am civil servant-student, funding my studies from my pocket is the hardest nowadays, and without NSFAF assistance, I am left in a desert. I thus wish to make the following proposal; what if GIPF create a funding joint for postgraduate who are doing studies that are in line with their current employments.
Postgraduate studying adds value to my current job, it helps me grow professionally, remain relevant and it’s an additional quality to my job efficiency and could help with value addition too. With so much that GIPF is accruing from its investment, they can either give us study loans that can be repaid back gradually with minimal interests, or grants that can help us recover from our study financial demises.
I mean if they can borrow to unscrupulous businessman who registers for bankruptcy after squandering our funds, why not to the fund owners, the real servants of the people? Its high time GIPF listen and ask for ideas from its ‘investors’ the people whose funds they use, so that they could put the money where their mouths are.