Budget Raises Many Questions


The Editor Allow me to comment on the budget as reported by New Era, edition of 20th March 2006, titled “15.3 bn Budget”. Namibia’s unveiled budget which coincided with our independence celebrations is worth talking about. A budget viewed as a “pro-poor and development-oriented program” – which our economists call balanced and economically sound – if not intriguing and shocking. Simply, because over so many years of Namibia’s budgets, our economic and supposedly should-be productive members of our nation are always left behind. The piling up number of school dropouts! Who only add up to the already mounting group of the unemployed class? A group that if “lucky” will have been hinged on a budget coming out, but many a time are a forgotten people whose only “crime” is they cannot find a job and for that matter, society forgets about their daily hardships and challenges. With no job and no remuneration, how do such people make ends meet? Many have never had a job since leaving school and getting on the street. Do we ever question where their next meal is coming from? Those are grown-up men and women who should be responsible for their own welfare, who should in most cases be raising families – if not having ones already. But how do they fend for themselves when they have no source of income? Whose liability are they? Are we not supposed to provide for such vulnerable members of our nation – is our national wealth not their wealth as well? Government programs geared to empower such people with vocational training, etc. – does not happen overnight, but in between in whose fate are their lives rolling? Is it not only fair to pay them a living wage? For shelter and food! Irrespective of their different situation and position on the street. How do we expect to fight crime and HIV/AIDS, when social imbalances only drive our young into the fast lane? A balanced budget and economically sound – for whom? When we talk of a raise in pensioners’ “petty cash” of N$370 – which others think is good enough, but how do we come up with such a sum in the face of rising inflation and skyrocketing prices? Can our senior citizens live on such an amount – when everything around them, from water to sleep, has a price tag? How realistic are we, when prioritizing the national needs – should infrastructure precede the provision of an empty stomach? Though it does make good economic argument for infrastructure to open the doors of an economic boom – which will open doors for employment, but for how long has that argument being going on? Why can’t Namibia take it “one step at a time” and the people must always come first! Therefore, pursuance and the realization of Namibia’s independence dream must come knocking with the basic human necessities than the creation of “white elephants” – which our own citizens can hardly visit nor step their foot in. But still, the Honorable Minister Saara Kuugon-gelwa-Amadhila did her best, but let’s hope for a more people-oriented budget next time. Happy Independence Celebrations! Thank you Mulife Muchali Vancouver