By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The National Planning Commission (NPC) has terminated the Call for Proposals for Grants, with the last deadline being February 1, 2007 and not October 1, 2007 as provided for in the guidelines. This is because the commission has received a large numer of applications which have exceeded the N$150-million that was allocated to the programme. Harald Rojahn, Team Leader of the Rural Poverty Reduction Programme (RPRP) at the NPC told New Era this week that the total amount of applications in the first four intakes amounted to N$650-million as opposed to a budget of N$150-million. “We have provisionally committed N$100-million, and it does not make sense for us to continue encouraging people to work on projects when we do not have the funds,” he said. The last deadline will be February 1, to give those working on projects a chance to finish, he said, adding that there will be stiff competition. The commission announced in the media this week that the final deadline for applications for grants in support for Decentralized Demand Driven Actions (DDDA) will close at 11h00 on February 1, 2007, meaning that applications which were supposed to have been submitted later than that date will no longer apply. The DDDA is a component of the National Planning Commission’s Rural Poverty Reduction Programme whose objectives are to increase and diversify on an off-farm income generation, developing community-based tourism and rural small and medium enterprises, and also to increase access to rural finance. The DDDA component was launched on March 16 after the RPRP received a 53-million Euro funding from the European Commission. This money covers, among other components, institutional support, land reform, rural water supply, and rural access roads. The RPRP has so far received 74 grant applications in the four intakes of DDDA grant applications which were submitted before the later deadlines, totalling N$600-million. The applications involved some 100 civic organizations and semi-government institutions that were either the applicant or the partner. Of these, 13 were re-applications submitted by applicants who were not considered in the earlier rounds. On June 30, there were 18 applications received with a value of N$149-million, while applications from four line ministries alone received on July 3 sought funding totalling N$44-million. The programme received 13 applications on August 1 seeking N$105-million, 12 applications on October 2 to the value of N$95-million and 31 on December 1 for N$259-million. Although the average amount of funding being sought for a DDDA project is about N$7.6-million, several applicants wanted the maximum funding available of N$15-million. Rojahn said that at present the RPRP was finalising contracts covering the three projects that were approved in the first round, namely: the Emerging Farmers Support Programme for Erongo, Hardap, Khomas, Karas, Kunene, Omaheke, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa regions; artisan training and SME establishments in the four north-central regions and Kavango, and on-and-off farm income generation for Caprivi and Kavango.