Over 760 000 Namibians have so far benefited from the emergency income grant (EIG) that government started rolling out in April nationally to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on the less privileged.
A total of 765 452 Namibians have so far benefitted from grant, according to finance ministry spokesperson Tonateni Shidhudhu.
He urged those who have not yet received payment to be patient, as good progress has been made by the ministry in finalising the verification process.
“We have been working around the clock to capture the data from the forms received from the constituency offices around the country,” Shidhudhu said.
He said thousands of applicants were sent to constituency offices for physical verification.
“These were applicants who have indicated they received their grant from a number being shared by more than two people and those who have made mistakes in their applications, such [as incorrect] ID numbers or surnames,” he explained.
“As we speak, 765 452 have received their grant already. When we started the verification process, the figure for the beneficiary stood at 747 281,” he added.
According to him, there was a break from May up to somewhere towards the end of August, due to the verification process that was going on.
“We resumed paying – and in the last two weeks, we were able to send cash to 18 171 people,” he said.
Shidhudhu said it has been a complicated process because of large records that the ministry received from all the regions of the country.
“You will find that out of 56 143 names we verified, around 15 000 people were already paid. So it has really been a complicated process trying to verify and validate the data and sort out the names that were paid and those that were not paid,” he said.
“We were being careful just to ensure that there is no double payment and that the process is above board.”
Last week, he said, the ministry submitted the last names for further validation.
“These names were 13 188. Of course, not all of them will qualify for payment. The validation process checks against the names that were already paid, those who are probably receiving other grants or working and categorised as not having lost income - and those who do not qualify for the grant for various reasons,” he said, adding that the number will decrease.
According to Shidhudhu, the ministry has reached its target and delivered beyond paying 739 000 people as initially earmarked.
“This was just a projection – and in mega national projects such as this one, one has to be prepared for escalation. But I must tell you that of the amount that was initially allocated, there was an additional N$210 million to top up,” he said.
This amount, he said, was budgeted for at N$772 million.
“There is money to cater for all the qualified applicants, as it was budgeted for.”