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Sunday 21 April 2019
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Economic crisis spreads across public sector

 
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The debate on whether Namibia is broke or not will continue in Namibia beyond 2017 on our minds long beyond 2017. Namibians are experiencing a somewhat strange reality in the form of government institutions struggling to cope financially.
Dispite all these happenings, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein maintained at a media conference that Namibia “is not broke”, but it seems the public is left with more questions than answers at this point in time.
So who is fooling who here?
In recent weeks internal memos have been surfacing in which employees, in both parastatals and ministries, got instructions to cut certain activities because of limited financial resources.
The National Youth Service seem to be the hardest hit after it informed its workers that their January salary will be delayed. The Patriot observed the recent developments and summarised how the developments unfolded.
 
6 December 2016
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT)announced that a moratorium has been placed on all travel and overtime expenditure.
According to the statement, MICT officials must perform their official duties and travelling within working hours. “Staff are equally advised against undertaking work in the hope that they will paid in the 2017/18 financial year, as this practice will have adverse effect on funds for 2017/18 and its planned activities,” read the statement.
 
05 January 2017
The Ministry of Safety and Security announced that there “might” not be sufficient funds to assist Namibian Police Force Members to cater for their studies.
In the statement, the ministry cited “economic” challenges as the main factor in the shortage or rather unavailability of funds.
“The letter serves as a reminder to inform members of the Namibian Police Force who have been awarded financial assistance by the Namibian Police Force to prepare to cater for their tuition fees because of economic challenges,” read the statement.
 
15 January 2017
The Ministry of Justice issued a statement to the Director of the Namibia Law Society Retha Steinmann notifying her that it is “dully cognizant of the outstanding” invoices and has consulted with the Ministry of Finance to avail funds to effect the payments. “The outstanding payment of invoices owed to private legal practitioners for services rendered to litigants who were granted legal aid.”
Legal practitioners were also advised not to travel outside their work stations for purposes other than proceeding with an actual trial or hearing in order to avoid unnecessary expenses.
 
17 January 2017
The Ministry of Safety and Security issued a public notice distancing itself from a false advert that was circulating on social media indicating that there are vacancies for Cadet Constables to be filled in the force.
“This (advert) is devoid of any truth.
The Namibian Police Force is currently not in a position (financially not able) to take-in new recruits; hence the recruitment has been suspended for the next three years,” read the statement.
 
18 January 2017
The Health Ministry shockingly announces that the Regional Health Extension Program (HEP) during the 2016/7 financial year has been suspended.
The announcement drew public criticism with many claiming that the health of many of many Namibians, especially those in rural areas, has been compromised by the decision.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently experiencing the challenge of shortage of funds due to budgetary cuts by the Ministry of Finance,” reads the notification.
In essence, government promised to only discontinue capital projects and programs that are not a priority, but the suspension of HEP has left many asking whether the government considers healthcare as a priority.
 
 
23 January 2017
The National Youth Service announced a delay in the payment of January salaries for all its employees.
“This communication is to inform all employees that the processing of the January salaries, which is expected of Wednesday, 25 January, will be delayed,” read the internal memo signed by its spokesperson Johanna Kambala.
 
23 January 2017
The Office of The Prime Minister (OPM) issued a directive to all Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Auditor-General, Director of Elections, Namibia Central Intelligent Services and the Anti-Corruption Commission to put measures to curb expenditure (holding of unnecessary seminars, workshops and conferences)
“In the view of the above, kindly be informed that the holding of workshops, conferences and seminars outsides O/M/As headquarters in Windhoek are profited with immediate effect,” read the statement.
 
25 January 2017
University of Namibia issued a statement to all its staff members that it is unable to implement salary adjustments during February 2017 as was expected. “As the University still experiences and cash flow difficulties,” it read.



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