By Kuvee Kangueehi
The 2008/9 national budget, which was tabled yesterday in the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, was received with mixed feelings by political parties in the House.
DTA of Namibia MP, Johan de Waal, termed the budget ‘dull’. He said there is nothing new in the budget. He noted that the budget is a ‘pre-election’ one and very similar to previous budgets.
De Waal said the Finance Minister was not very innovative and only allocated more funds to the same ministries such as education and health.
De Waal, however , welcomed the increase in pension grants but said the Government could have tried to cut income tax. He noted that South Africa has decreased the income tax but income tax in Namibia remains high while the cost of living is also going up.
The MP added that Namibians have been hit hard by rise in fuel cost and increase in interest rates but the minister has done nothing to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
He said the allocations in the budget such as the veterans allowance, increase in pension grant and education are designed to win votes.
Nudo chief whip, Arnold Tjihuiko, said the budget is well balanced and addresses many of the issues facing the country. He was happy that the pension grant has been increased and that Government wants to give more funds to orphans and vulnerable children.
Tjihuiko, however, said the budget fails to address the issue of unemployment and said there is little allocated towards job creation.
Jurie Viljeon from Monitor Action Group (MAG) said he is satisfied with the budget adding it is overall, a good budget. He also commended the Government for increasing the old age pension but questioned the allowance to the veterans.
He also said he is not convinced that money should be allocated to Air Namibia.
Nora Schimming-Chase of the Congress of Democrats (CoD) welcomed the fact that the budget was tabled early and said this will give them enough time to study the budget properly.
She also welcomed the increase in the allocation of funds to health and education and said the budget looks promising.
However, the CoD MP was quick to add that previous budgets have been promising but failed to deliver the expected results. She hopes this one will be an exception.