Equity over equality, says Berseba councillor

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-Berseba Constituency Councillor Dawid Boois has called for equitable distribution of resources instead of equal distribution, saying this is the only adequate approach to address inequalities in economic development access to basic services, among other amenities.

He said equal distribution of resources within the constituencies is tantamount to unfair allocation of resources.

Boois added it is obvious that predominantly rural constituencies are relatively wide geographically and in population, while urban constituencies are constricted and centered in population but the residents’ basic needs in these areas are provided by local authorities.

“The latter give those constituencies competitive advantage, if compared to rural constituencies. Hence, the debate for equitable distribution of resources within constituencies in regions should begin in this august house as a matter of urgency,” he told members of parliament in the National Council during his budget contribution last week.

As many constituency councillors bemoan the fact that most projects in their area have been affected by budget cuts due to the economic crunch this financial year, Boois is thankful to the government that major developmental and capital projects in the //Kharas Region are still budgeted for and are currently in progress.

These, he said, include the construction of Neckartal Dam, government office park, the University of Namibia (Unam) southern campus and rural development centres.

He was however quick to say the implementation or execution rate is below expectation, “which is very unfortunate”.

He reiterated the concerns he raised during the 2016/17 budget, which he says have never changed. These, he said, include below average capital project implementation rate that continuously dropped “awkwardly since 2015” as many projects have not been completed in the last financial year.

Boois explained this could still be attributed to the late tabling of the budget, which badly affects operations on the ground every year.

Subsequently, he said, this affects service delivery, while capital projects are running out of time and all budgeted projects cannot be implemented. As a result, he said, unspent monies earmarked for projects which are meant to address the socio-economic developmental situation of citizens are sent back to Treasury every year – a phenomenon that he says needs to be changed urgently if regions are to achieve much with less resources made available to them.

In addition, Boois said they should bemoan the lack of proper or limited monitoring and evaluation systems that seem not to be adequate or have never been put in place.

Furthermore, he advocated that a preferential procurement policy be effected at all levels of the government as one of the most effective economic empowerment tools that could help strengthen local and regional economic growth, increase job creation and reduce poverty through strengthening of SMEs.

He thanked the government for allocating funds to construct toilets in rural areas to improve sanitation amongst rural people in an attempt to do away with the bucket system, which is also rife in the southern part of Namibia.

He reiterated his call made on April 23 2016 with regard to the issue of support staff for councillors.

He said there is a need that they propose a review to restructure the constituency staff structure for effective and efficient service delivery – as there is a need for them to have a cleaner for the office and a labourer to attend to minor renovation needs, maintenance of the yard, and loading and offloading of goods.

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