THE Office of the Prime Minister has given some clarification on the voluntary to percent contributions towards drought relief initiatives by stating that political office bearers will make up bulk of the contributions, which they will pay over a 12-month period.
Members of the public who wish to contribute will make a once off contribution.
Speaking at press briefing today, OPM Director, Selma Shaanika, re-emphasised that while the initiative is completely voluntary, government has already started deducting two percent from political office bearers who have agreed to this initiative.
“Cabinet members have already confirmed their commitment to contribute two percent of their salary for a period of one year to support said initiatives, while non-executive parliamentarians were still being consulted. The process has commenced to have the money deducted from their salaries, however, for the rest of the country, consultation has to first take place and a consensus reached before an effective date is determined,“ Shanika stated.
Shaanika further stated that the two percent contribution is not a new thing as Cabinet in a meeting held on 19 March 2019 endorsed a proposal that due to the prevailing economic situation, a two percent once-off salary reduction be made by political office bearers, and civil servants in the Management Cadre.
She added that the proposal was amended to include the entire country.
Shaanika noted that the public sector is expected to raise an amount of between N$500 to N$600 million from the 117 0000 employees who make up the government sector.
Shaanika further stated that these proceeds will be ring-fenced and directed to address the plight of those facing drought, as well as youth development activities that combat unemployment.
Commenting on the subject, finance minister, Calle Schlettwein, said that he is disheartened by the general public’s response on the two percent contribution, and stated that government will not beg, but rather use legal instruments to mitigate one of the country’s most severe drought in 30 years.
Asked hy the Swapo Party is spending N$730 million on Chinese contractors to upgrade its offices located opposite the Katutura State Hospital while the country is facing a State of Emergency due to drought, Schlettwein stated that it is presumptuous to dictate how a political entity spends its funds.
“We don’t know the balance sheet of the Swapo Party and their different activities it has budgeted,” Schlettwein said.
He further added that although the bidding was opened to Namibian companies as well, no local bid was received.