By Anna Shilongo
Amidst high expectations that the 2008/09 national budget would reflect significant increases in total revenue and a budget surplus, New Era took to the streets to ask people what they expected from the budget this financial year.
Most of the citizens we spoke to would like Government to allocate a large portion to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, while others want the Ministry of Trade and Industry to be allocated sufficient funds for small and medium enterprises.
Albertina Niilonga Nangolo
“This budget should focus on health, education, and the trade sectors. I regard these three sectors as the most important. These sectors need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I hope government has done its homework. There should be more schools, universities, clinics and colleges to allow all children access to education. They talk about education for all, but yet we have children wondering in the streets with no schools. The health sector also needs money; we need medicine, manpower, enough transport for the sick, and more health facilities.”
“The Ministry of Trade deserves sufficient funds and this budget should empower and support small and medium entrepreneurs. They should support SME’s in their entire endeavours. SME’s are important to the economy and contribute about 12% annually. There is a high rate of unemployment in Namibia. Education is another sector. We have a lot of children in the streets that need to go to school, and they should concentrate on building more schools to accommodate even grade 10 and 12 failures.”
“There is a need for Government to prioritise the health ministry. There are a lot of challenges in the country, such as floods and disease outbreaks that pose a threat to the country’s economy. More and more people are dying while others are hospitalised and bedridden. They need medicines to prolong their lives. We need human resources, more hospitals and clinics. Our health is more important than any other sector, a sick nation cannot lead a country.”
“The budget should spend big this time, we don’t want to hear ministries or sectors running out of funds, while there is still more work to be accomplished. It should also include flood victims that are suffering as a result of floods in the north and north-east. These people have lost most of their valuable goods, property, while their crops and houses were washed away. There should be an additional budget for any natural disaster that might occur.”
“The budget should focus on the health and education sectors. Our health facilities are going down the drain. Enough funds should be allocated to the education sector to allow all children an opportunity to study. We have a lot of grade 10 and 12 failures in the street with no jobs or school. Government feels they are doing a great job by throwing them in the streets, but in fact Government is just contributing to poverty. How can the country prosper with large numbers of uneducated people? Electricity is another major concern.”
“The budget must mainly be shared between the ministries of Health and Social Services, and Education. These two sectors must be top priorities. They should be granted enough funds that can sustain them. Money allocated must be used for its intended purpose. It should be used for constructive projects that can benefit all, not a portion of people, we don’t want corruption in this country.”
SRC President (University of Namibia)
“I would like the government budget to increase on the side of the Ministry of Education, in order for student loans to be paid on time, and so that there is enough money for every child in the country to have access to education. The money must be able to buy enough books for national libraries.”
“Education is a key to the attainment of vision 2030. We cannot afford to donate children to the streets such as the grade 10’s and 12’s. Government should build more schools, buy textbooks, employ college graduates roaming in the streets and expand university and colleges capital projects.”