The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has demanded that the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) be reorganised and its salary structures be examined as a matter of urgency.
Addressing journalists yesterday, SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo said such a move would streamline the organisation’s operations and ensure students derive maximum benefit from the fund’s existence.
“NSFAF is a social institution that was founded solely to serve students. Such an institution should not pay salaries as if it were in business. The salary structures of NSFAF must not be higher than that of the public sector,” stated Nekongo.
The fund, which is primarily funded by government, “barely makes N$0.50 per year to supplement the government’s annual budget. As a result, having employees paid millions of dollars to push papers is laughable.”
The youth leader said the reforms at NSFAF can be made in line with Cabinet’s resolution taken earlier this year that the administration of the selection process of applicants to benefit from NSFAF be managed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation; and the financing, funding and debt recovery component of the fund be managed by the Ministry of Finance, or another financial institution, as may be identified.
“We urge NSFAF’s parenting minister to ensure that the board’s governance and performance agreements include practical improvements to the award and payment processes, respectively,” noted Nekongo.
He, however, applauded government, through the ministries of finance and higher education, for joining forces and securing additional funds to close the NSFAF budget shortfalls for the 2021/2022 financial year.
Treasury allocated N$1.2 billion to the fund for this financial year.
“The fund had benefited 13 997 students last year, while around 16 193 students have been awarded this year, which is an increase of 2 196. This is the largest award ever given in NSFAF history,” observed Nekongo.
He said the party is pleased with the fund’s new strict selection process to award the neediest students. He furthermore acknowledged that most qualifying students have not been funded, and requested government to do its best in finding additional resources to ensure that such students are funded.