MP proposes HIV grants

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WINDHOEK – Nudo MP Asser Mbai wants the government to financially assist all persons who are on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment to help avoid that they take medication on empty stomachs.

Reports previously emerged about some people not regularly taking their ARVs on grounds that they cannot take the medicine on an empty stomach, which raised concern about the possible emergency of drug-resistance strains of HIV.

Mbai made this suggestion on Tuesday when debate resumed on the 2015/2016 Appropriation Bill in the National Assembly.

“HIV/AIDS victims subjected to ARVs need to be assisted financially to purchase food to prevent them from taking drugs on an empty stomach,” proposed Mbai.

He did not suggest the amount he has in mind but he wants the state to give monthly grants to HIV patients.
In 2012 over 100 000 Namibians were on ARV treatment.

In his statement he also urged government to ensure state expenditure management remains a top priority in order for the fiscal policy of the country to continue being supportive of a stable macroeconomic environment, which is required for growth and diversity.

“This means the implementation of the programmes and projects should be guided by the principles of efficiency, effectiveness and financial discipline,” stated Mbai.

He stressed the need for closer monitoring of parastatals to ensure they contribute to growth and employment creation.

N$35 billion debt concerns UDF
United Democratic Front (UDF) Member of Parliament Torca Shikongo expressed concern over the escalating national debt, which is estimated to escalate to N$63 billion during the 2017/2018 financial year.

She warned fellow MPs to be vigilant not to plunge the entire nation into a debt trap.

She made the suggestion in the National Assembly during her budget statement on Tuesday when she warned that the country should be careful because non-payment of “a national debt will make the nation a slave of the other”.

“As responsible leaders, let us be careful not to plunge this nation into a debt trap which our children will not be able to pay. Whether Namibia will fall into the debt trap depends on our decisions when we discuss and adopt the current and future budgets,” said Shikongo while delivering her maiden statement.

Shikongo questioned whether Namibia is generally aware of the existing debt that keeps increasing yearly.

The debt increased by about N$5 billion from the last financial year.

She urged government to conduct awareness campaigns about the national debt on national radio and television, so that the public is accorded an opportunity also to contribute to how government could reduce escalating national debt.

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