By Michael Liswaniso
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Immanuel Ngatjizeko last Friday inaugurated the newly built labour regional offices here on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Ngatjizeko was accompanied by Peter Iilonga his deputy.
In his speech read by Ngatjizeko, the President said the inauguration of the office was a milestone in Government’s efforts to bring government closer to the people. He said even though the region has been served from Outjo, having a regional office in Opuwo as the regional capital was a good move adding that Government is mindful of equity in its distribution of national resources.
Kunene has the second smallest population in the country, constituting a total of 3.1 percent of the country’s entire population, said Pohamba.
The inauguration, he said, came at the right time because the ministry is in its final preparations to launch the Labour Act of 2007 (Act no. 11 of 2007) and the office will thus help the community with labour and social welfare related enquiries instead of people traveling to Outjo, some 400 kilometers away.
“As from today, the Government of the Republic of Namibia through the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will make available to the people of Opuwo and the rural areas beyond it, a variety of employment and social services that are long overdue,” he noted.
Through the Division of Social Welfare, the new office will provide administration of the basic state grants to the elderly and to people living with disabilities.
“As from July of this year, an amount of N$450 will be paid monthly to the elderly and to persons living with disabilities backdated to April 2008. Such person also qualifies for funeral benefits,” said Pohamba.
He assured that the Division of Social Welfare would help to guarantee the smooth and timely payment of such benefits to eligible persons.
Both the Regional Governor Dudu Murorua and Opuwo Mayor Peter de Villiers graced the occasion and expressed gratitude about the new development while welcoming their guests.
“I am very grateful for the establishment of the office and I know it will look at the interests of the people,” said the mayor.
Iilonga who delivered a vote of thanks called for dedication and hard work by officials at the new office, saying this was vital for success while also calling for all people to unite and work together regardless of political affiliation.
“The governor is not (a member of) Swapo and even the mayor is also not from Swapo, but under the Swapo Party-led government, we work together and bring development,” said Iilonga.