Friday 18 June 2021
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NQA in N$38 million fiasco

Namibia Qualifications Authority(NQA) is navigating a tight fiscal rope, which includes slashing the development budget by N$38 million to fund operations and remaining tight-fisted during workers’ salary negotiations, a move that subsequently led to NQA and NAPWU reaching a deadlock last week.
The Patriot understands NQA recently received about N$38 million from government. NQA spokesperson Catherine Shipushu confirmed the transfer.
NQA insiders further indicated that N$10 million of the funds were transferred to the National Commission on Research Science and Technology(NCRST).
Asked whether it is true that N$10 million of these funds were transferred to the NCRST, she responded briefly saying “No money has been transferred from the NQA accounts at this stage.”
In spite of cries from workers that the leadership of NQA is blatantly ignoring their plight with some questioning why a portion of the N$38 million is not used to cater for salary increases.
Shipushu maintains that NQA fully understands the urgency of the situation and the plight of its employees given the current economic climate.
“The funds of the NQA consist of all monies appropriated by Parliament through the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation.
The annual budget allocation is determined by the Ministry and covers both the developmental and operational expenses of the NQA. For the 2018/19 financial year, there was a significant shortfall in the operational budget.
This necessitated the request to the Line Ministry to authorise the transfer of N$38 million from the NQA’s developmental budget to the operational budget to enable the organisation to meet its financial obligations,” Shipushu said.
She further explained that “these funds were not requested from the government, but were in essence a transfer from one vote to another to make up for the shortfall in the operational budget.” Shortly after Tuesday’s meeting, NQA’s Evaluations Officer Johannes Shihepo updated the bargaining unit members of the outcome of the negotiations.
In an email seen by The Patriot, Shihepo told the employees: “The two parties reached a deadlock, with particular emphasis on the housing item, the negotiations process will therefore continue and the union will keep you informed on latest developments as it progresses.”
Responding to questions from The Patriot last week, NQA confirmed that two meetings were held between the NQA and NAPWU on Friday (05 October 2018) and Tuesday (09 October 2018) respectively, where the wage negotiations continued.
“It is important to note that the NQA honours the recognition and collective bargaining agreement with NAPWU, which sets out the rules of engagement for wage negotiations between our two organisations, and wishes to proceed within the letter and spirit therein,” said Shipushu.
She said NQA remains committed to timeously concluding the negotiations in good faith and endevaour to reach an acceptable and sustainable outcome for the benefit of our employees.
“In terms of our agreement with the labour union, clause 10.3 states that a dispute is declared by either party giving the other party written notice of such dispute.
At the time of writing this response, the NQA had not received a written notification of a dispute from NAPWU,” she said.
With the wage negotiations still in process, Shipushu steered clear of giving more details about the negotiations saying “the NQA is bound by the terms of the agreement and we refer specifically to the provisions of clause 11.1 which states that the Company and the Union shall not issue unilateral press statements concerning any provision of this or any further agreements and/or pending negotiations without the prior written consent of the other party.”
The NQA, she said, is therefore not at liberty to reveal any further details pertaining to the negotiation process at this stage.

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