N$27 billion for social expenditure

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-A total of N$27.4 billion – or 47.7 percent – of the national budget tabled last week has been reserved for education, health, gender and child welfare, social safety nets and poverty eradication efforts.

Of that amount N$6.3 billion, or 10.1 percent of the budget, has been allocated towards sustaining various poverty-reducing social safety nets such as the old-age social grant and grants to war veterans, orphans and vulnerable citizens, as well as people living with disabilities.

The education sector alone received N$15.8 billion or 24 percent of the budget.

Press secretary in the presidency Albertus Aochamub said these figures are adequate testimony of the government’s commitment towards improving citizens’ lives, contrary to perceptions that politicians are lining their own pockets at the expense of the masses.

The total personnel expenditure and benefits for Namibia’s 326 public office-bearers represent N$264.3 million, or 0.4 percent of the N$62.6 billion national budget, official documents show.

“The presidency would like to use this opportunity to draw attention to some important budgetary items other than personnel expenditure that have been tabled by the minister of finance in the current budget,” said Aochamub, who is the former director-general of the national broadcaster, NBC.

“These include significant budgetary outlays for social expenditure and subsidies directed towards higher education and vocational training, aimed at creating opportunities for the youth through skills development, thereby improving their employability.”

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein announced last week the N$963 million budget allocation for the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), N$926 million for the University of Namibia (Unam), N$534 million for the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and N$382 million for the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).

“The Namibian government recognises the need to contain the wage bill to sustainable levels, while acknowledging the skewed economic legacy. Emphasis on rightsizing, cost containment, service delivery, efficiency gains and natural attrition are amongst key considerations to enjoy priority,” the State House spokesperson said.

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