The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) last week announced that it received N$50.3 million in donations to fight Covid-19 in the country. Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the funds came from individuals, political parties, private sector companies, trade unions, state-owned enterprises, traditional authorities and religious institutions.
According to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila the donations supplemented N$63.1 million that was allocated from government coffers to finance activities related to the fight against the pandemic. She said this was in addition to allocations made to specific programmes already under the budget such as for health and education as the main sectors.
“Out of these funds we have spent N$44.4 million. These payments have already been made to fund items related to food, medical items and masks for vulnerable persons, transportation, and accommodation logistics,” elaborated Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. In addition to this expenditure of N$44.4 million, she said her office has committed N$31 million to be spent on non-medical expenses in different regions following specific requests.
Also, N$15 million is earmarked to support the ongoing programme to support victims of the fire that destroyed homes at Twaloloka in the Erongo region.
She added that both cash donations and in-kind assistance were channeled through regional councils’ local authorities and the Office of the Prime Minister, with some stakeholders providing support directly to affected communities. “The cash that was received is deposited in a special account and expenditures are coming from there and this account will be audited at the end of the programme, so that there is certainty as to how these funds were used,” she said.
Meanwhile, finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi explained that the support that his ministry is offering to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during this difficult time consists of different elements.
“One of it was to accelerate payment of invoices and value-added tax (VAT). We have made some progress to that effect and so far an amount of N$3.8 billion has been paid out in a combination of outstanding VAT and invoices that were not paid before. That will go a long way in helping the cash flow of the business sector including the SMEs,” noted Shiimi.
He said that his ministry has worked with the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) to secure funding for supporting SMEs and noted that DBN has approached the market and secured funding to the tune of about N$500 million. – firstname.lastname@example.org