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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Govt 'lacked political will' to deal with Psemas abuseGovt 'lacked political will' to deal with Psemas abuse An expert within the medical aid fraternity says government has long been aware about fraudulent activities related to the Public Service Workers Medical Aid Scheme (Psemas) but did not have the political will to fix things.

    The medical aid scheme provides cover to government employees who pay the minimum price of N$240 per main member and N$120 for dependents for up to 95% of their medical aid expenses incurred.

    The source who spoke on condition of anonymity says the scheme has seen millions been siphoned off from government coffers.

    According to the source, government did not act on the recommendations given by forensic experts. In addition, the reports were also not made public.

    A report in possession of Namibian Sun indicates that the finance ministry knew as far back as April 2010 that there were major gaps in the fraud management system regarding claims managed by the fund administrator, Methealth. It had also received a list of suspect doctors, clinics and pharmacies that had submitted questionable and false claims, along with risk analyses. The ministry was also advised to urgently appoint a board of trustees to manage the fund effectively.

    The 2010 report, in excess of 100 pages with spreadsheets, graphs, statistics and a detailed list of service providers under investigation, appears to have been ignored.

    Commissioned by the finance ministry in October 2008, South African-based Savvy Solutions was appointed as independent consultants to Psemas to “focus on forensic audit investigations aimed at identifying and curbing irregular claims activities within the scheme to reduce costs and financial losses from fraud.” They inspected Psemas services providers for the period 2007 to 2009.

    “Although forensic reports identifying corrupt practices were provided already several years ago which highlighted areas and parties of abused, the political will never existed to address these matters and reports were filed in confidentiality,” the source told Namibian Sun.

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein earlier this year said a forensic audit was being prepared.

    “The forensic audit into the operations of Psemas is progressing to finality and we will leave no stone unturned to bring to book any identified fraudsters,” said Schlettwein during a staff engagement last week.

    The findings of the audit will be revealed in due course, he added.

    “There are issues that we need to look at. It is not just one or two practices, but tens of practices where serious issues have been unearthed,” said Schlettwein.



    Fiscal drain



    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report titled Financial Risk Statement said that government was losing over N$900 million per annum in wastage, fraud, collusion and theft, it was reported.

    The IMF report said the medical aid fund heavily relies on taxpayers' money, with about 85% of benefit payments funded through the national budget, while employees contribute a flat rate not linked to their salaries, covering 15% of total benefits.

    The IMF advised the government to take several measures to save the troubled medical aid fund, such as linking workers' contributions to their salaries.



    Not true



    Schlettwein had recently during a meeting with stakeholders in the medical industry gave his take on the way forward for the beleaguered medical aid scheme.

    Schlettwein at first quashed the reported amount of N$900 million that is said to be lost by government on a yearly basis.

    “There were publications on a leakage draft IMF fiscal report alleging that an amount of N$930 million was defrauded on the scheme per annum. Such an allegation is baseless, as there is no evidence pointing to such an amount,” he said.

    He said last week fraudulent activities relating to the scheme are re-emerging, despite government's crackdown recently, adding the “rotten apples” must be dealt with at all costs.

    Highlighting the extent of the fraud, he said “everybody was found with their hands in the cookie jar”.

    “We must save Psemas; it may have to be abandoned if it can't be saved. We believe a collaborative (effort) is the best way to determine how the scheme is run in the future.” The finance minister pointed out the money one spends on one case of beer is equivalent to your Psemas membership fee for the higher option, while two six-packs of beer is equivalent to the fee for a dependent.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    Training camp for Pent SeriesTraining camp for Pent Series Netball Namibia (NN) has called up a group of 36 players for a training camp ahead of the Debmarine Pent Series, which is set to take place from 7 to 12 May in Windhoek.

    The series will see hosts Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as still to be confirmed Malawi and Botswana, competing for top honours.

    Namibia will enter two teams, the national Desert Jewels side, as well as a Shadow Team. Connie Samaria, the public relations officer at NN, said the reason for entering the Shadow Team is to give all potential players the chance to compete and be exposed to the level of play in the series.

    The players called up are: Vendjihonga Katjaimo and Juambuaije Zauana (playing in South Africa), Imbeleni Frans, Melissa Nels, Cheryl Muesee, Diana Tjejamba, Louise Kaheseua, Selma Bittler, Uehengisa Tjozongoro, Viyanda Kamberipa, Pupe Kandovazu, Eve Hamwaalwa, Tjimbakavaza, Tjibakavaza, Dorkas Tjipetekera, Emmy Katuko, Anna Shipanga, Cathelene Tjihero, Iilyn Pura, Francina Johannes, Chaa Kavari, Jessica Kuzatjike, Maria Kashipolo, Teveni Shirleen, Globine Majowa and Jatjinda Tjihero (Khomas), Anna Kaspar, Joanitha Kauure and Evariza Haufiku (Erongo), Uzuvira Uatjiua, Jessica Nandova, Rose Kotjapati and Ghola Uaongora (Otjozondjupa), Lynette Kazosi (Oshikoto), Kaviao Marenga (Omaheke), Selma Shikikumwa (Kavango East) and Diana George (Omusati).

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Pumitas run riot
  • Pumitas run riotPumitas run riot Namibia beaten 64-8 in SA series Namibia were beaten 64-8 by a youthful Argentina side yesterday in the under-20 rugby international series in South Africa, as they prepare for the upcoming SuperSport Rugby Challenge as well as the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

    Namibia did not have a good start to the match with the youthful, well-coached and trained Argentineans controlling the first half. In the second half Namibia tried to catch up but the Argentines had other ideas, outclassing the Namibians every chance they got.

    Prior to the match Namibia Rugby Limited's chief executive officer Mervin Green said they are playing the 'big boys' in the series, referring to the Argentina side, as well as the Junior Springboks and Georgia.

    “These are professional players and the series is competitive. We also have junior players in our squad and want to give them an opportunity to play and possibly be selected for Japan in September,” he said.

    “We also want the series to serve as preparation for the SuperSport Challenge, which will start on 27 June,” Green said.

    “Even though every team wants to win when they play, our focus is not on winning or losing but the coaches want to see how much work lies ahead before the World Cup.”

    The country has four months to put together a formidable team to play in Japan.

    Green also emphasised the importance of the series, as the yesterday's clash against the Pumitas was Namibia's first match for the year, as they have not competed since November last year.

    This puts them on the back foot as other countries have been playing friendlies in preparation for the World Cup. Green thus thanked the South Africa Rugby Union (Saru) for inviting and including the Namibian team in the series. Namibia will face the Junior Springboks on Saturday and Georgia's u-20 team this coming Wednesday. The competition is also good for the juniors, as they are preparing for the World Rugby U-20 Championship, which Brazil will host. In South Africa, each team will face one another once over three rounds of matches, in a similar format to the pool stages of the World Rugby U-20 Championship, where the Junior Springboks and Georgia will play matches every four days.

    Namibia secured their place at the 2019 World Cup with a comfortable 53-28 win over Kenya in Windhoek last year.

    The match was a straight shootout for the Africa Gold Cup title, which determined World Cup qualification.

    The side coached by former Wales lock Phil Davies scored seven tries to ensure they topped the table with a perfect 25 points from five matches, picking up try bonuses in all of their matches.

    Namibia will play in Pool B alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Canada at Japan 2019. They have played in every Rugby World Cup since 1999 but are yet to win a game at the tournament, losing all 19 of their matches, hence the critical needed for proper preparations this time around.

    Meanwhile, Namibia's dominance in the U-20 Barthés Rugby Africa Trophy came to an end this week when they lost to hosts Kenya in a tightly contested final.

    With the in 18-21 defeat Namibia missed out on qualification to the 2019 World Junior Rugby Trophy tournament in Brazil, which will now see Kenya competing at the tournament in July.

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    Naku ponokelwa konkoshi a hokololaNaku ponokelwa konkoshi a hokololaOmulumentu ngoka ota ti po hwepo moshipangelo shaShakati Omulithi gwiimuna ngoka a ponokelwa konkoshi pehulilo lyomwedhi gwa piti, okwa hokolola nkene a kondjo nonkoshi ndjoka opo a vule okuhupitha omwenyo gwe. Elia Usiku, 49-omukalimo gwomUukwiyu-Uushona moshitopolwa shaShana okwa hokolola kombinga yoshiningwanima shoka sha ningwa momasiku 23 gaMaalitsa, ta popi kutya esiku ndyoka ite li dhimbwa monkalamwenyo ye, sho a li a kondjo owala noshiti mokuhupiha omwenyo gwe.

    Omulumentu ngoka okwa hokolola kutya osha li lwopotundi onti 09:00, mUulungawakolondo omanga a li teende okuza kohambo okuya ketambi lyomeya sho a ponokelwa konkoshi.

    Usiku, ngoka ngashiingeyi e li ta mono epango moshipangelo shaShakati, okwa popi kutya okwaako kwe kwokolulyo okwa li kwa teka pomahala gatatu.

    “Konima sho nda piti pokamba yaakwiita pUulungawakolondo nda landula oongombe dhandje, onda mono owala iimuna tayi ihana. Inandi mona kutya oshike sha li mondjila sigo nda uvu omugono. Kand li nda tila molwaashoka oongombe kadha li tadhi ulike dha tila na odha kala dha ngungumana, na onda dhilaadhila kutya kape na oshiponga,” Usiku a popi.

    “Sho oongombe adhihe dha zimo mondjila opo nduno nda mono onkoshi ya talandje yuukililandje na oya tameke tayi matuka yuuka kungame. Onda ilombwele kutya itandi fadhukapo na ondi na okuyi taalela. Onda li ndi na oshiti meke lyandje na ondiitsu omukumo.”

    “Sho ya thiki pungame oya nukilendje ya hala komutse gwandje ihe nda tsu ongolo na oya nuka ndje. Oya tanauka meendelelo na oya nukilendje ketako kolumoho nokulumatandje. Sho ya lumatandje ngaaka onda mono kutya nani ondi li moshiponga oshinene na onda pumbwa okukondjitha oshiyamakuti shoka. Onda tanauka na onda tameke tandi yi dhenge noshiti shoka nda li ndi na meke.”

    Usiku okwa hokolola kutya okwa tameke ta kondjo noshilikama shoka a tila kutya ngele oshe mu vulu oonkondo otashi mu dhipaga.

    Okwa popi kutya onkoshi ndjoka oye mu lumata mokwaako kokolumoho omanga ya li tayi lumata oshiti.

    Okwa popi kutya olugodhi ndoka olwa kutha konyala uule woominute ntano naasho a mono kutya oshiyamakuti shoka osha loloka molwaashoka osha li tashi zi ombinzi nayi noonkondo okwe shi e tha.

    Okwa popi kutya oya kala yiitala momeho uule wominute gumwe nonkoshi ndjoka na oya zi po tayi yi. Usiku okwa yi teende uuka kokamba yaakwiita na okwa tsakanene naAndreas Shipanga, ngoka a li tayi kohambo ye. Shipanga okwa fala Usiku koshipangelo shaNandjokwe na okwa lundululilwa moshipangelo shaShakati esiku olyo tuu ndyoka.

    Uuministeli womidhingoloko owa tula miilonga oskema yi na sha niikolokosha pokati kaantu niiyamakuti, ndjoka ya nuninwa okuyambidhidha oofamili ndhoka dha kanitha aaholike yawo omolwa omaponokelo nenge omalugodhi pokati kawo niiyamakuti nenge mboka ya ningi iihakanwa yomaponokelo giiyamakuti.

    Omunambelewa omupopiliko guuministeli womidhingoloko, Romeo Muyunda okwa popi kutya otaya ka konaakona ngele Usiku ota futwa nenge ita futwa.

    “Monkalo moka omuntu a ponokelwa koshiyamakuti ota vulu okufutwa okupitila mohuman-wildlife conflict self-reliance scheme. Okwa pumbwa okulopota oshiningwanima kombelewa yetu moshitopolwa moka e li na otatu ka ninga omakonaakono nokutokola kutya ota futwa ngiini kwiikwatelwa konkalo yoshiponokela,” Muyunda a popi.

    “Monkalo moka Usiku a ponokelwa owala omanga a li mondjila ye, otatu ka futwa kwiikwatelelwa keehameko ndyoka a ningilwa.”

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Ompumbwe yoohi okwa tegelelwa yi ye pombanda mo 2030Ompumbwe yoohi okwa tegelelwa yi ye pombanda mo 2030 Okuza momasiku 2 sigo ga 4 gaApiili nuumvo aatseyinawa kombinga yiinamwenyo yomomeya oya gongala moSantiago, Chile, nokukutha ombinga momutumba gwoWorld Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health, ngoka gwa kundathana unene kombinga yokuya moshipala omikithi, ndhoka hadhi pula oshimaliwa shoobiliyona shaAmerika 6 komvula kehe.

    Omutumba ngoka ogwa ningwa nokuyambidhidhwa kepangelo lyaChile kohi yontetekelihapu, “Collaboration, Sustainability: Our Future”,. Okwa kundathana unene kombinga yelongelokumwe kombinga yooprograma dhuundjolowele nokugamenena po iinamwenyo yomomeya.

    Omunambelewa omupopiliko guuministeli woohi noonzo dhomomeya, De Wet Siluka, ina vula okupopya ngele Namibia ngoka a koko moshikondo shetekulo lyiinamwenyo yomeya okwa li tuu a kalelwa po komutumba ngoka.

    Omukanda ngoka gwa pitithwa ko OIE ogwa holola kutya, omutumba ngoka ogwa li gwa nuninwa okukundathana omashongo ngoka ga taalela oshikondo shoka oshowo omakandulepo gomikundu ndhoka.

    Iinamwenyo mbyoka okwa hololwa hayi gandja kaantu ye li poobiiyona 3.2 muuyuni oopresenda 20 dhoproteina yiinamwenyo, ihe omakonaakono ngoka ga ningwa oga holola kutya opo ku yi we moshipala ompumbwe yoohi oshowo iikulya yomefuta, elongo lyoondya dholudhi ndoka olya pumbwa okuyambulwapo okuya momvula yo 2030.

    Omutumba ogwa popi woo kombinga yo OIE Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual oshowo World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS).

    Omutumba ogwa kundathana kombinga yekondololo lyomikithi ndhoka hadhi vulu nokutaaguluka oongamba, biosecurity for aquaculture establishments; nkene ku na okutulwa miilonga ekondololo lyomikuthi oshowo etulo miilonga lyo OIE international Standards.

    Omukomeho gwo OIE, Dr Monique Eloit, okwa popi kutya omolwa oshikondo shiitekulwanamwenyo yomomeya shoka tashi kokelele, otashi ka kala muupyakadhi wokutaalela omashongo guundjolowele oshowo omikithi.

    Melongelokumwe lyiilongo, nena otaku vulika okutulwa miilonga OIE international Standards, nokuyanda etaandelo lyomikithi, ndyoka lya gumu nale oshikondo shoka nokweetitha ekanitho enene miilongo yimwe po.

    Oshikondo shoohi noonzo dhomomeya moNamibia osha holola oshikondo shoka oshimwe shomiikondo tayi koko meendelelo moshilongo.

    Oshikondo shoka osha kwatelamo oshinano shookilometa 1 500 momukulofuta gwaLiindili, Ombaye oshowo oSwakopo, na okwa talika kutya oshitopolwa shoka inashi nyatekwa na oshina oonzo dhi li pombanda dhomeya gopaushitwe.

    Ongeshefa yoshikondo shoonzo dhomomeya oya kwatelamo ngaashi Seaweed (Gracilaria verricosa) Abalone (Haliotis midae), Mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), Oyster (Crassostrea giga) oshowo (Ostrea edulis)

    Uuministeli owa popi kutya oshikondo shoka natango oshi li esimano enene moCaprivi oshowo mOkavango nomiitopolwa ngaashi Omusati, Kunene oshowo Oshana.

    Okwa tulwa woo miilonga oopoloyeka dhuuteku woohi dha yooloka moshilongo noopresenda 50 dhakalimo miitopolwa yomuushayi moshilongo otaya hupu moopoloyeka ndhoka.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Camel thorns for a cause
  • Camel thorns for a causeCamel thorns for a causeProject to plant hundreds of trees across Namibia's landscapes The seeds have been planted through a unique initiative that will ensure hundreds of new and emblematic camel thorn trees will dot Namibia's landscapes for generations to come. Last week ATC Namibia, a local tour operator, joined hands with Intelligence Support against Poaching (ISAP) Namibia, a non-profit anti-poaching NGO, to launch a 'Trees on Tour' initiative.

    The project is linked to the ISAP tree-planting project, a brainchild of ISAP Namibia that is aimed at ensuring that hundreds of camel thorn trees are planted throughout Namibia's iconic landscapes.

    ATC Namibia spotted a unique opportunity to support the project, launching the 'Trees on Tour' initiative with ISAP last week, which will allow tourists travelling through the country to plant trees, leaving behind more than footprints.

    Moreover, with each tree requiring a N$500 donation by the tour groups, which will be directed towards ISAP environmental programmes and projects, the initiative is set to help the non-profit organisation collect much-needed funding.

    On Thursday, Fritz Kaufmann and Yvonne von Holtz delivered 30 one-year-old Acacia trees to ATC Namibia to be distributed throughout the country.

    The idea is to allow clients embarking on tours custom-designed by ATC Namibia, to purchase a camel thorn tree, and with the help of a tour guide, to choose a suitable location to plant the tree during the tour.

    The GPS coordinates of the tree's location will be documented and the tree will be given a name.

    ISAP will track all the trees on their website, enabling tourists from all over the world to keep a close watch on their tree.

    Moreover, anyone interested in the project can keep up to date with the number of trees planted as well as their locations, to ensure the trees are cared for and to monitor their growth and health.

    ATC Namibia on Friday noted that with an average of 320 days of sunshine, and sufficiently hot days, trees in Namibia are a valuable source of much-needed shade in a dry, arid landscape, not only for humans but also for animals.

    Moreover, trees are a crucial source of food as well as a habitat for variety of birds, insects and other animals.

    Many Namibians still rely on wood to cook their daily meals, and take pleasure in braaing beneath blue and sunny skies.

    Since wood and shade is so cherished and precious in Namibia, ISAP decided to plant little camel thorn trees and distribute them all across Namibia whenever the occasion arises.

    ATC Namibia said last week the first camel thorn tree was successfully planted in mid-March, as part of its pilot project involving tourists traversing the country.

    The tour operator underlined they have long supported ISAP, and when the tree-planting project came to their attention, they decided they could support the cause.

    “Tourists, especially eco-tourists, are very particular about visiting sustainable establishments, helping and supporting NGOs and giving back in the form of a good deed. Since ATC Namibia knew this, we offered ISAP help in distributing the trees across Namibia and collecting the money from willing tourists, with the money going to a good cause and supporting ISAPs great and continuous efforts of protecting all valuable tourism attractions on Namibia,” ATC Namibia said.

    It also called on others in the industry to support the initiative.

    “Let us protect Namibia's heritage together to ensure that future generations and our visitors from all over the world still have the privilege to visit our beautiful preserved landscapes, have encounters with endangered species and wood to enjoy evenings under a starlit sky and around a fire.”

    ISAP meanwhile confirmed that the tree-planting programme is well under way, including a tree nursery where 500 seedlings will initially be nursed to grow strong before they are distributed by the public across the country.

    These plants will be available next year to the public for planting at no cost, as long as the coordinates of where they are planted are provided.



    JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Swakara auction successful
  • Swakara auction successfulSwakara auction successful During the Swakara auction held in Copenhagen, Denmark during March, 100% of the pelts offered were sold.

    A buyer from Italy bought most of the pelts, followed by a buyer from Greece who is registered in the USA.

    In contradiction with the September auction that took place last year, there were numerous buyers from China who bought actively.

    The average price for pelts at the auction was N$452 for an offer of 32 975 pelts, a decrease of 2% in comparison with the September 2018 auction where 23 326 pelts fetched an average price of N$462.

    The auction consignment consisted of 18 952 black, 8 877 white, 1 830 spotted, 2 162 grey, 452 brown and 702 diverse pelts.

    The black top lot of 48 R Flat Lig selected extra pelts was sold for N$1 297 per pelt and the white top lot of 34 KF selected pelts were sold at N$1 599 per pelt.

    The average pelt price for the black Swakara was N$461, an increase of 20.37% compared to the September 2018 auction.

    White pelts sold for an average of N$551, a decrease of 21.85% compared to the September 2018 auction. Spotted pelts sold for N$313, an increase of 38.8% compared to the September 2018 auction, brown pelts sold at N$426 and grey pelts at N$269.

    The Namibian producer with the highest pelt average for more than 250 pelts marketed was Raynold Losper with an average price of N$712 for 400 pelts.

    Due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in South Africa, South African producers were unable to offer their pelts at the auction.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Compounding impacts of crippling droughtCompounding impacts of crippling droughtLower prices, food insecurity, atypical animal deaths Besides the impact on livestock, the current drought conditions have caused alerts to be issued to humanitarian organisations in terms of food shortages. Rainfall during southern Africa's 2018/19 wet season started nearly a month late and was characterised by extended dry spells between January and March, and concluded with historically low rainfall totals in many parts of the region.

    According to the Southern Africa Food Security Alert for April areas of Botswana, northern Zimbabwe, eastern Namibia, southern Angola, and surplus-producing areas of northern South Africa and southern Zambia registered a D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) drought.

    The report says that livestock conditions and agricultural labour opportunities have also been negatively affected by the poor 2018/19 seasonal performance.

    Pasture conditions and water availability for livestock are below average in many areas, including parts of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Botswana, where drought-related livestock diseases and deaths have already been reported. According to the report, livestock body conditions are unlikely to improve in drought-affected areas until the start of the 2019/20 rainy season, driving lower livestock prices through much of 2019, and atypically high livestock deaths are possible. It says that overall, poor households are expected to have below-average income through to at least late 2019 when agricultural labour for the 2019/20 season will be available and the next rainy season drives livestock improvements.

    As a result, atypically high levels of acute food insecurity are anticipated across the region, with the highest concern in Zimbabwe, central and southern Mozambique, southern Zambia, and parts of Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Angola.

    Additionally, it is anticipated that the 2019/20 lean season will start atypically early in August and needs will be highest at the peak of the lean season in early 2020.

    The report says that humanitarian actors and national governments should plan for higher than normal food assistance and livelihood support needs through to at least early 2020.

    Despite expected below-average 2019 maize production, it is expected that regional maize supply during the 2019/20 marketing year will still be average due largely to carryover stocks from last year's bumper harvest in South Africa.

    Currently, maize grain prices are trending near or slightly above the five-year average across the region and this trend is expected to continue in most areas, and prices are not anticipated to reach the high levels observed in 2016.

    However, maize prices are expected to be well above average in drought-affected areas with localised supply deficits in flood-affected areas of Mozambique, and in Zimbabwe, where both drought and macroeconomic issues are of concern.

    The report says that should Tanzania and Zambia restrict grain exports to structurally-deficit neighbouring countries in an effort to protect their domestic supplies, maize grain availability will be lower than normal in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Haut Katanga province, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.





    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Traditional memorial for OmukwaniilwaTraditional memorial for Omukwaniilwa A traditional memorial service for the late Omukwaniilwa Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, who died on 26 March at the age of 86, will take place tomorrow at the Olukonda Elcin parish.

    This will be followed by a state memorial service at Onamungundo on Friday, before the state funeral near the Nakambale Museum at Olukonda on Saturday.

    Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba will be the main speaker at tomorrow's memorial service, while President Hage Geingob will be the main speaker at the state memorial and funeral.

    Former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba are also expected to attend.

    This was announced by traditional authority senior headman Naeman Amalwa.

    Amalwa called on the Ondonga community and other interested persons to attend tomorrow's memorial services.

    “The memorial service on Friday is an official event during, with many speeches expected to be delivered in English. Tomorrow's memorial service is traditional and many of the speeches will be mainly in Oshiwambo,” Amalwa said.

    “Many of the speakers at tomorrow's memorial are also not on the state programme list, so people must also make time to attend this memorial service.”

    No mention is made on the traditional and state memorial programmes of someone speaking on behalf of the Ondonga Traditional Authority.

    Commonly known as King Kauluma (KK), Elifas was the one of the longest-serving leaders of the Ondonga kingdom, having ascended to the throne in August 1975. He was the 18th king of Ondonga.

    Elifas served for nearly 44 years as the king of the Ondonga traditional community. He also served for many years as chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders.

    President Geingob accorded Elifas a state funeral because of his role as chairman of the Council of Traditional Leaders since its inception in 1997.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    MPs abandon National Assembly after teaMPs abandon National Assembly after tea There is a growing trend in the National Assembly of parliamentarians reporting for duty as expected but leaving halfway through the session.

    This often leaves too few members to constitute a quorum for voting on any issues.

    This tendency derailed the resumption of the reconsideration debate on the Public Enterprises Governance Bill last week.

    Statistics obtained from officials at the National Assembly reveal that last Tuesday 76 voting and seven non-voting members showed up for the first half of the session, while 19 members with voting powers were absent.

    On Wednesday, 61 voting members and five non-voting members were present at the commencement of the assembly, while 34 MPs with decision-making powers were absent

    Thursday saw 53 members with voting powers and four non-voting members turning up for the first half of the session. The statistics show that 42 politicians with voting rights were absent on the day.

    Often some MPs fail to return to the chamber after the tea break at 15:30.

    When it came to the resumption of debate of the Public Enterprises Governance Bill, which has been on the order paper for two weeks, the voting quorum could not be reached.

    The Namibian constitution requires the presence of 49 MPs entitled to vote, other than the presiding officer. When contacted for comment, public enterprises minister Leon Jooste dismissed claims that the bill, which would give him more power over parastatals, was being sabotaged.

    “This bill is of fundamental importance for Namibia.

    The related urgency is exponentially more important under our current economic circumstances, where the reform of our SOEs is a non-negotiable element to restore economic growth,” Jooste added.

    NAMPA

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: ECN ready for by-election
  • ECN ready for by-electionECN ready for by-electionOndangwa Urban constituency poll set for 15 June Supplementary voter registration will take place from 10 to 12 April for the Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election, which follows the appointment of former councillor Irimari Kaulifewangali Elia as Oshana governor. The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is at an advanced stage with its preparations for the Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election, which is scheduled for 15 June.

    The vacancy occurred on 18 March when outgoing councillor Irimari Kaulifewangali Elia was appointed as Oshana governor.

    ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro said according to the Regional Councils Act, if a vacancy occurs in a particular constituency, the ECN is obliged in terms of the law to conduct a by-election within 90 days from the date when the vacancy occurred.

    Supplementary voter registration will take place from 10 to 12 April.

    “The ECN hereby urges all individuals who are resident in the Ondangwa Urban constituency and are eligible to be registered as voters to go to designated supplementary voter registration points in the constituency,” said Mujoro.

    He said in order to be registered as a voter for the upcoming by-election, an individual must be a resident of the constituency, 18 years or older, and a Namibian citizen.

    “The supplementary registration of voters is aimed at registering new applicants, individual voters who have changed addresses and those who have lost their voter cards,” said Mujoro.

    According to him all designated supplementary registration points will be open from 08:00 until 19:00.

    The nomination of candidates will start 19 April and the submission of nominations in the case of independent candidates is on 4 May.

    Mujoro said the last day for the nomination and submission of candidates is 6 May.

    The ECN has appointed Rauna Nkandi as the registration supervisor. Nkandi is also expected to be the returning officer for the by-election on 15 June.

    “The ECN is committed to the consolidation of our democracy and will ensure the process is credible to all participants and stakeholders,” Mujoro added.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Sub-Saharan economic growth recovery to take longerSub-Saharan economic growth recovery to take longerWorld Bank cuts forecast The latest forecast means economic growth will lag population growth for the fourth year in a row. The slower-than-expected overall growth … increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits. – World Bank Omar Mohammed - The World Bank has cut its growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa this year to 2.8% from an initial 3.3%.

    The commodity price slump of 2015 cut short a decade of rapid growth for the region, and the bank said growth would take longer to recover as a decline in industrial production and a trade dispute between China and the United States take their toll.

    The bank's 2019 forecast means economic growth will lag population growth for the fourth year in a row and it will remain stuck below 3%, which it slipped to in 2015.

    In its latest report on the regional economy, the bank also cut its 2018 growth estimate to 2.3% from last October's prediction of 2.7% growth for last year.

    "The slower-than-expected overall growth reflects ongoing global uncertainty, but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits," the bank said.

    Angola, SA

    Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, which make up about 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's annual economic output, were all facing various challenges, curbing their contribution to the growth momentum, the bank said.

    "This downward revision reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence," it said.

    Nigeria's economy grew by an estimated 1.9% last year, up from 0.8% the previous year, the World Bank said, reflecting a modest pick-up in the non-oil sector.

    South Africa came out of recession in the third quarter of last year but investors were still cautious due to policy uncertainty, the bank said.

    In the meantime Angola, the region's third-biggest economy, remained stuck in recession, as oil production remained weak.

    Debt

    High inflation and heavy debt loads discouraged investors in economies such as Zambia and Liberia, hitting their growth prospects, the World Bank said.

    Rates of debt in the region are growing and the type of borrowing that countries are undertaking is exposing them to vulnerabilities, it said.

    "External debt is shifting from traditional, concessional, publicly guaranteed sources to more private, market-based, and expensive sources of finance, putting countries at risk," the bank said.

    "By the end of 2018, nearly half of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa covered under the Low-Income Country Debt Sustainability Framework were at high risk of debt distress or in debt distress, more than double the number in 2013."

    Strong growth

    Economies that do not depend on commodities such as Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Benin and Ivory Coast, continued to grow strongly, the bank said in the report.

    Albert Zeufack, the chief economist for Africa at the bank, said the region could boost annual growth by about nearly two percentage points if it harnesses information technology more effectively.

    "This is a game-changer for Africa," he said. – Nampa/AFP

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    On tax-free allowances and inequality On tax-free allowances and inequality Column Klaus Schade Sometimes, well-meant interventions have unintended consequences.

    One case in point are tax-free allowances, such as tax-free housing allowances, tax-free car allowances, tax-free pension fund contributions, etc.

    Namibia has a progressive income tax system with marginal tax rates rising with increased taxable income. This, however, results in tax-free allowances being regressive, meaning that the better-off benefit more than low-income earners.

    The government intends to increase the pension fund contribution that can be deducted from the taxable income to N$150 000 or 27.5% of income, whichever amount is lower.

    First, an employee earning less than N$145 000 per annum will be worse off with the new regulations, since they can only deduct less than the current maximum amount of N$40 000 per annum.

    Moreover, someone earning an income of more than N$1.5 million per annum and deducting the maximum amount of N$150 000 from the taxable income will have a tax saving of N$55,500 – that is the equivalent a domestic workers employed at the minimum wage earns in three years. It is also more than double the amount someone who is earning N$100 000 per annum will save in income tax.

    While the increase in the amount deductible from the taxable income is meant to enable formal sector employees and self-employed to save for the retirement age, it disadvantages those who need the support most – the low-income earners – and it increases income inequality. The same applies to the tax-free pension fund payout that benefit those who could save more – usually the better-off – more through higher tax savings.

    In order to address income inequality, tax-free housing, car and other allowances should be terminated and the allowance should be included in the salary, which would increase the transparency of salary packages in addition.

    Tax-free pension fund contributions could be replaced with tax credits with an equal amount for all income tax payers that contribute to a pension fund. Even those employees who earn below the tax threshold and therefore do not benefit at all from any tax-free allowances will benefit from tax credits, since they would receive an EFT from the Receiver of Revenue at the end of the financial year.

    Such a progressive tax system will not only boost the disposable income of low-income earners, but will benefit the economy as well. High-income earners save a higher share of their income and spend a higher share of their expenditure on imported goods and services than low-income earners.

    Strengthening the income of low-income earners will therefore support the domestic economy, since the savings from tax credits will certainly flow immediately back into the economy. And, it will contribute to reducing income inequality.

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: The snowball effect
  • The snowball effectThe snowball effect The ailing state of local government in Namibia is succinctly illustrated by the current woes at the Rehoboth town council, which owes NamWater N$20 million, while NamPower is owed a whopping N$99.6 million, as the town battles to keep its lights on and taps running.

    It was also revealed during a recent town meeting that residents owe the council N$150 million in outstanding rates and taxes.

    Yet this represents the tip of the iceberg. It is well-known that several local authorities are floundering in much the same way to keep head above water, so to speak.

    Last year some areas in Rundu were left without water for five days after NamWater discontinued its service due to the town over defaulting in payments.

    At the time the town owed NamWater N$60 million. In 2017 NamWater reduced Karasburg's water supply because of a debt of N$6 million, while in 2018 the Keetmanshoop municipality has failed to meet a deadline set by NamPower to pay N$16 million or risk being taken to court.

    NamPower had demanded that council should pay by 14 February 2018.

    In March this year, auditor-general Junias Kandjeke reported 24 local authorities to the National Assembly for their perennial failure to submit financial statements to his office as required by law.

    The information was contained in a special report on the non-submission of financial statements by some local authorities, regional councils and statutory bodies for the financial years ended 30 June 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    The ongoing financial malaise at local government level is heavily impacting on the ability of council to deliver to residents. These woes test the patience of people, with sporadic protests flaring, which does not augur well for peace and stability.

    The core functions of councils are being heavily compromised, while people wait for the rapid release of land and development come. This in turn fosters a feeling of hopelessness among ordinary Namibians. In the same breath, non-payment for council services has a snowball effect and cannot be condoned.

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    Thoughts on the National Budget 2019/20Thoughts on the National Budget 2019/20 Limit the deductibility of fees and interest for income tax if no WHT has been paid

    We understand that the rationale for this as we are aware that taxpayers are not paying over withholding tax (WHT) where due.

    It is important that the proposed legislation would take into account the relief provided under double taxation treaties and that the deduction of the fees and interest would not be disallowed where double taxation relief is available, as this would be very unfair towards the taxpayer.

    Deductions allowed on pensions and annuity funds

    The proposal is to increase the maximum deduction threshold from N$40 000 per tax year to a 27.5% of income, limited to N$150 000 per tax year.

    This is a welcome change to help taxpayers make provision for their retirement. We hope that regular increases to this threshold will take place.

    Taxing charitable institutions

    Our concern is that charitable, religious and educational institutions would become taxable on commercial activities that they are undertaking solely to support their main objective.

    We have no problem that where there are institution abuse, their status in order to generate profit for personal gain should be stopped, but we do believe that a lot of institutions are not operating with this intention and merely act to further their main objective of solving important societal issues which sometimes are not addressed by government.

    Dividends tax

    The introduction of a 10% tax on dividends would reduce the return on investments for a lot of taxpayers.

    This would have a negative impact on investments and taxpayers may choose to invest their money offshore as their return is now further reduced while investing in Namibian products.

    One has to remember that for most investments made in unit trusts, there is a portfolio that does consist of equity (yielding dividends) and interest-bearing instruments. Thus the return in these unit trusts would become less when there is a withholding tax on dividends and in the end the individual taxpayer investing his/her hard-earned money would end up receiving less than before.

    Basis of taxation

    Subjecting foreign income of Namibian residents to tax would add a lot of administrative burden to the operations of Inland Revenue.

    It has to be noted as well that Namibia has concluded a number of double taxation treaties with other countries. In terms of these treaties there are certain incomes that Namibia would still not be able to tax even if this change is brought about.

    Repeal of EPZ and manufacturing incentives

    We understand that there has been pressure from the European Union (EU) on Namibia with regards to these incentives.

    We therefore understand that there is a need to abolish some of these. We are looking forward to see what the proposed Special Economic Zone will bring in terms of incentives to the taxpayer.

    Under Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, manufacturing is instrumental in how we want to change our economy. It is therefore of utmost importance that there will be sufficient investment and tax incentives to ensure that we draw additional investment into our economy.

    The current manufacturing incentives offered has a big criticism in that it takes a substantial amount of effort and time to get such approvals from the various ministries involved and therefore has resulted in the investment into these sectors not being forthcoming.

    Non-deductibility of royalties

    We are very concerned that this will have a detrimental effect on the viability of existing and proposed operations of the mining industry in Namibia.

    The industries are already under pressure and the financial models are cost-sensitive. Imposing additional taxes in the form of disallowing the deductibility of the royalty payments could result in unwanted consequences for the economy in the form of loss of jobs and withdrawal of investment from the country.

    Taxing of trusts

    We do recognise that there are structures that have been abused when it comes to tax planning by making use of trusts.

    We do however encourage that the changes to the legislation makes a distinction between business/trading trusts and other trusts.

    One of the main reasons for setting up a trust is for the founder to divest control over assets and to protect his/her assets on a long-term basis.

    Careful consideration should also be given to how a “bewind” trust would be taxed as this is one of the investment vehicles used by the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) to investment pension funds of government employees.

    Chantell Husselmann is a tax leader at PwC Namibia. Contact her at chantell.husselmann@pwc.com

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Rehoboth drowns in debt
  • Rehoboth drowns in debtRehoboth drowns in debt The floundering Rehoboth town council needs an urgent lifeline, as it is drowning in debt of about N$120 million owed to NamPower and NamWater while residents owe it N$150 million in outstanding rates and taxes.

    The council owes NamWater N$20 million, while NamPower is owed a whopping N$99.6 million, as the town battles to keep its lights on.

    Rehoboth has for decades been bent low by alleged corruption and maladministration, which prompted urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga to suspend the entire town council.

    Mushelenga appointed Natalia

    /Goagoses, who has decades of experience in the public service, to run the affairs of the beleaguered town council in the meantime.

    The suspension of the town council in March last year came amid ongoing allegations of mismanagement, poor service delivery and lack of accountability, as well as the inability of the council to implement ministry directives.

    /Goagoses's term at the Rehoboth council was extended at the end of March this year.

    At a community meeting at the town on Monday, acting finance manager Hilda Ndongo explained that the town's residents consumed on average 5 000 cubic metres of water per day but had failed to keep up with payments.

    She said buying electricity from NamPower cost the council about N$6 million a month, of which N$1.1 million went towards the servicing of its historic debt.

    According to Ndongo the community's outstanding electricity payments to the council stood at N$21 million, largely because most residents use prepaid electricity meters.

    She said until recently the council had an arrangement with NamPower that 70% of the electricity payment went towards prepaid services, while the remaining 30% was used to service the historic debt.

    For January they paid N$12 million, in February N$5.6 million and in March N$3.5 million to NamPower.

    Ndongo said it became difficult to keep the arrangement going, and NamPower threatened to cut the town's electricity.

    However, the council made a last-minute arrangement which kept the lights on and the pots cooking.



    Townland woes

    The council also has its hands full with communal farmers who are failing to honour their lease agreements for townland.





    According to Justina Shidolo, the council's lease and townland administrator, the council is owed N$6.5 million in this regard.

    There are 22 camps on Rehoboth townland with 344 tenants, of whom only 250 have accounts with the council. That means the rest are illegal settlers.

    “It was also discovered that 27 of the 344 with accounts are deceased and their total outstanding amount as per the November invoices was N$638 388,” she said.

    “The Rehoboth town council is sorting out the issue of illegal occupants, lapsed agreements, as well as issues of subleasing and non-payment by those who have accounts.”



    Roaming animals

    Another headache is the animals roaming within the town boundaries, said Shidolo.

    She warned livestock owners that the council would enforce a law that allows it to impound all stray animals within the town.

    “These animals create an increased risk of accidents on the roads and they can even destroy residents' properties,” she said.



    Ongoing woes

    It was reported in March that the Rehoboth town council had failed to submit financial records for 2016/17 and 2017/18 to the auditor-general's office.

    The town has long been a hotbed of protests against the council and in March last year, when the councillors were finally suspended, hope was renewed that Rehoboth could be saved.

    In 2017, spiritual leaders under the banner of the Ecumenical Council of Churches (ECC) at Rehoboth staged a peaceful protest against alleged poor service delivery and corruption by the town council.

    In March last year, Mushelenga stressed that the punitive measures taken against the council were not politically motivated, but were aimed at ensuring order and compliance and protecting the public.

    He reminded all local authorities that the ministry would in future take swift action against any council in which discipline, order, harmony and service delivery were at stake.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Sand miners petition NCCI
  • Sand miners petition NCCISand miners petition NCCI Sand miners have petitioned the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) over environment minister Pohamba Shifeta's order to suspend environmental clearance certificates granted to the Uukwambi Traditional Authority for sand mining at Ekamba and Onanime, outside Oshakati.

    A group of ten SMEs signed a petition that was handed to the NCCI northern branch, demanding the reopening of two burrow pits with immediate effect.

    The group claim they are supplying sand to construction companies that are building houses in various northern towns. They say construction has now ground to a halt following Shifeta's decision.

    “We are not happy with the suspension of the sand clearance certificates for Iiheke yaNakele and Onanime by the environment minister on 29 March.

    “We demand their reopening because we supply building sand to building constructors busy with the construction of houses in the northern regions, which has now stopped because there is no sand,” the petition reads.

    “The suspension of the two pits by the minister is delaying the development and progress of the affected towns of Oshakati, Ongwediva, Ondangwa and Oshikuku. This has also cost income to the over 1 500 employees who were involved.”

    The businesses were given permission to excavate sand at the two villages by the traditional authority.

    Among the affected companies are T4 Investment, Kweenda Trading, Ndaenda Construction, Nangelo Trading and EMS CC.

    The traditional authority also expressed its unhappiness over the suspension of environmental clearance certificates.

    It had obtained the certificates for sand mining at existing pits at the two villages, but the local communities appealed to Shifeta, saying the authority had not consulted them.

    When he delivered his ruling on 29 March, Shifeta said the communities had proven that there had been no public consultations.

    NCCI northern branch chairperson Tomas Iindji confirmed receiving the petition, saying it is receiving attention.

    “We first have to engage the stakeholders involved, which are the office of the governor, the traditional authority and the environment ministry. We cannot just get into it, because it involves legal issues,” Iindji added.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: ACC probing demolished hotel
  • ACC probing demolished hotelACC probing demolished hotelProcurement procedures questioned Works deputy minister James Sankwasa wanted the demolition stopped amidst allegations that he had a personal interest in the building. The head of investigations of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Nelius Becker, has confirmed that the ACC is investigating a N$2.4 million tender awarded to ADDI Investment Africa for the demolition of a hotel in the centre of Okahandja.

    This tender award has reportedly caused a major fall-out between works deputy minister James Sankwasa and the ministry's executive director, Willem Goeiemann, while accusations of self-interest and underhanded dealings are being bandied around.

    Becker yesterday said the ACC investigation would primarily focus on the allegation that the tender had been irregularly awarded to ADDI Investment.

    “It would appear as if there was no competitive bidding, which is in contravention of the new Public Procurement Act. We are also investigating the relationship between the alleged role players in the matter, as well as the tender pricing for a project that really merely ought to have involved the demolition of walls,” Becker said.

    Sankwasa reportedly visited the demolition site on Saturday, 9 March and, “as a custodian of government property”, ordered that the work stop immediately. He allegedly called in the police to stop the work.

    Judging from video footage circulated on WhatsApp, Sankwasa, who arrived at the site with his official black Mercedes-Benz, questioned how ADDI Investment's invoice could have arrived at the ministry on 6 March and the job was certified on the same day.





    The executive director of ADDI Investment, John John, refused to halt the work and demanded a written confirmation that the job must be stopped.

    Sankwasa then said he was not going to provide anything in writing but that he would “open a case” against the company.

    John then asked Sankwasa whether he had a personal interest in the building. He claimed that it was common knowledge that Sankwasa had visited the premises with Malaysian visitors interested in setting up a university at the town.

    NBC Television had earlier reported about the Malaysian visitors from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, who had visited President Hage Geingob at State House where they expressed interest in setting up a university in Namibia in a public-private partnership.

    The report stated that the university would carry all the costs of the project.

    The Malaysians said during their State House visit that they had visited the headquarters of the National Youth Service (NYS) at Grootfontein, but expressed disappointment about talks having stalled because of alleged bureaucracy and resistance.

    They then expressed interest in starting the university at a disused Meatco building, the Epandulo Meat Market, at Okahandja.



    ADDI Investment's letter to ACC

    ADDI Investment's John wrote a letter to the ACC – which was also circulated on WhatsApp – in which he claimed to have documentary evidence that Sankwasa had visited the Okahandja hotel with the Malaysians.

    John claimed an official from the works ministry, a certain Henry Mwoka, had accompanied the delegation.

    John further claimed that Sankwasa had promised the Malaysians the use of the hotel, which had been a government property since 1985 but fell into disuse after a fire.

    He further claimed that the Namibian high commissioner to Malaysia, Anne Namakau Mutelo, had introduced the Malaysians “as potential business people who need to have business in Namibia”.

    “Therefore, it is our understanding that the deputy minister would have followed ministerial procedures to enforce his personal desire to allocate GRN properties to Malaysian private entities,” John's letter to the ACC concluded.

    He also claimed that Sankwasa had unprocedurally sourced ADDI Investment's documents from another works ministry official, Nora Masuku.

    John alleges a tribal conspiracy since Sankwasa, High Commissioner Mutelo, as well as the two works ministry officials are all from the Zambezi Region.

    Mutelo forwarded queries sent to her to Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, executive director in the ministry of international relations and cooperation, for “more clarity and the necessary information on this matter”.

    Sankwasa did not respond to questions put to him.

    CATHERINE SASMAN

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  • 04/09/19--16:00: Recession butchers jobs
  • Recession butchers jobsRecession butchers jobsTens of thousands exposed A close look at the latest labour figures shows how the economy has affected permanent jobs, as well as its impact on informal and vulnerable employment. Jo-Maré Duddy – From 2016 to 2018, Namibia’s total population increased by 3.8%, its population of working age expanded by 3.6%, the economically active population was 6.2% bigger, the total workforce grew by 7.2% and the broadly unemployed rose by 4.3%.

    In numbers, Namibia’s total population of 2 413 643 grew by 89 255 people. The country’s population of working age is up 53 774 at 1 531 967. Its employed population of 725 742 is 48 857 workers bigger. People who are categorised as broadly unemployed, are 364 411 – 15 028 more than in 2016.

    According to the latest Namibia Labour Force Survey (NLFS), compiled by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Namibia’s official unemployment rate last year was 33.4%, slightly lower than the 34% in 2016.

    Seemingly, this is where the good news stops.

    Youth unemployment shot up from 43.4% to 46.1%.

    People aged 15 to 34 rose by 2.6% to 876 908 – 22 341 more than two years ago. However, the 310 854 young people who had jobs were 3% less than 2016. The 265 770 without work were nearly 8% more than 2016.

    A total of 17 792 young people with tertiary education ranging from diplomas, university degrees and postgraduate qualifications were jobless – 5.8% of the total youth not in education and not in employment or training (NEET). In 2016, the figure was 4.7%.

    Red stats

    People with permanent jobs dropped by more than 29 000 or nearly 11%. The 243 025 people permanently employed represented about a third of the total workforce. In 2016, it was about 40%.

    People appointed for a limited duration were around 21 000 less. The 61 161 workers in this category were some 8% of the total workforce. Two years ago, it was around 12%.

    The workforce of informal employment shrunk by more than 31 000 or nearly 7%. Whereas the 418 674 people in informal employment made up 66.5% of the total workforce, they last year represented 57.7%.

    Unlike people in formal employment, those in informal employment aren’t offered a pension scheme, medical aid and social security by their employers.

    Last year, 39% of the total workforce received paid leave, compared to 47% in 2016. Nearly 37% was entitled to paid sick leave as opposed to 43% in 2016.

    The 229 144 people in vulnerable employment – own account workers, subsistence or communal farmers and unpaid family workers – increased by more than 64 000 or nearly 39%. Most of them were own account workers or self-employed (44%), followed by subsistence and communal farmers (41%).

    The NLFS states that the rate of vulnerability is 31.6%. “It is a measure of those with relatively precarious working situations,” the NSA says. The rate for 2016 was 24.4%.

    Wages

    The average monthly wage for employees in 2018 was N$7 935, N$1 176 or 17% more than 2016. Men on average earned 3% more than women. The mean monthly wage for men was N$8 052 compared to N$7 789 for women.

    Employees aged 55 to 59 on average earned the most, with a mean monthly salary of N$12 662, nearly 18% more than 2016. They were followed by workers aged 50 to 54 (N$11 655); 45 to 49 (N$10 595); and 40 to 44 (N$10 005).

    Workers aged 15 to 19 earned the lowest wages. Their average monthly wage of N$1 113 dropped by 8% compared to 2016.

    Employees in the financial and insurance industry were the best paid, earning on average N$20 459 per month.

    Other well-paid jobs were in mining and quarrying (N$17 963), electricity and related industries (N$17 795), information and communication (N$17 139) and education (N$15 380).

    Employees of public administration, defence and compulsory social services on average earned N$12 580 per month.

    Private households, which includes domestic workers, paid the lowest wage of an average of N$1 387 per month.

    Biggest employers

    As in 2016, agriculture (subsistence and communal included), forestry and fishing were the biggest employers last year. A total of 167 242 people were employed in these sectors, 23% more than 2016. Last year, these sectors provided employment to 23% of the total workforce compared to 20% in 2016.

    The 2018 figure is broken down into: employees (46 751), employers (13 667), self-employed (87 091), unpaid family workers (11 937) and workers not classified by status (7 796).

    The average monthly wage in these sectors was N$3 393, nearly 51% more than 2016.

    Accommodation and food service sectors were the second biggest employers, providing jobs to 83 056 people – an increase of nearly 74% compared to 2016.

    The figure comprises of: employees (31 305), employers (5 743), self-employed (38 041), unpaid family workers (4 671) and workers not classified by status (3 296).

    The mean monthly wage paid was N$2 819, 5% less than 2016.

    The third biggest employer was wholesale and retail trade with 80 852 workers, up 24% from 2016.

    The figure consists of: employees (53 779), employers (5 079), self-employed (19 142), unpaid family workers (2 518) and workers not classified by status (334).

    The sector paid an average monthly wage of N$4 019, 4% lower than 2016.

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    Survival in arid eastern Chad depends on struggle for waterSurvival in arid eastern Chad depends on struggle for waterCarriers flock to pumps Dozens of water carriers flock to the pumps to collect supplies they plan to sell to people who have no access to the source. We do between seven or eight return trips each day, roughly. - Ali Ahmat (12), Carrier Amaury Hauchard - "I've already earmarked a customer for this drum - I need to get a move on!"

    Ali Ahmat, 12, flicks his whip to persuade a hard-driven horse to press on with his cart, laden with 200 litres of freshly-fetched water.

    The young entrepreneur is one of the informal but indispensable links in a chain to supply people in Ouaddai, eastern Chad, with water, the stuff of life.

    Scorching temperatures, an open sky, a shortage of deep wells and lack of water purification system make this a thirsty part of the world indeed.

    "After the rainy season, water becomes scarce," says Mahamat Adoum Doutoum, chief of the Guerri region, where only two deep wells exist for 86 000 inhabitants. "So people go to look for water in the wadi."

    Wadis

    Wadis - "riverbeds" in Arabic - are watercourses that run strong and fast during the rains and are often dangerous to cross, but largely dry up for the rest of the year. When there is no more rain, people dig wells in the wadis and install pumps to extract groundwater.

    Ali and dozens of other water carriers flock to the pumps to collect supplies they plan to sell to people who have no access to the source, often in dusty settlements.

    Each refill of his 200-litre drum costs Ali 100 CFA francs (US$0.17), but he can sell the water for five times as much in town. "We do between seven or eight return trips each day, roughly," he says.

    Towards the end of a hot Sunday, the blazing sun has set and Ali's cart is heading towards Hadjer Hadid.

    The town harbours a refugee camp for people who fled conflict and mass killings in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the far side of the border.

    Pascal, a Sudanese refugee and father of five in his 50s, is also used to the return trips between the town, the bed of the wadi and the muddy wells.

    He first came to Chad about 15 years ago and says that he "suffered" to be able to buy his own donkey.

    The beast of burden was an investment that has paid off, however, enabling Pascal to deliver water to the townsfolk over the past two years and bring a small sum home to his family.

    But he remains concerned about the quality of the water.

    "To drink the water, you also have to add bleach," Pascal says.

    Unsafe

    While water has become as rare as it is valuable, the kind to be found around wadis is unsafe. Traditional wells dug into the earth at the wadis provide water that is often the same colour as the soil.

    "The water can be contaminated at various points, either at the source, which may be unprotected, or during transport, using receptacles which are inappropriate, dirty or uncovered, and during storage and distribution," says Fabienne Mially, mission chief in Chad for the French aid group Premiere Urgence Internationale (PUI).

    The NGO supports 11 health centres in the Ouaddaï region, where awareness sessions on the importance of proper drinking water are regularly organised.

    In Borota, a village several hours' drive from Hadjer Hadid, the head of the local health centre has no illusions. Of the six standpipes in the village, none is working any more.

    "They were installed by NGOs," says the official, Koditog Bokassa, who says that wadi water is the only available source of water locally.

    He hands out sachets of bleach to dilute in untreated water.

    But Bokassa lacks the means to satisfy everybody and PUI has become the sole supplier of bleach in central parts.

    State

    The state used to deliver some, but has not done so for more than a year, he says. It is quite common to see young people at the wadis drink directly from their cans.

    The town has holding basins and water towers designed to retain water during the rainy season.

    "But the holding basins are insufficient and the two water towers broke down several years ago," says local resident Hassan.

    One trader has bought two barrels of 200 litres apiece, which he leaves in the courtyard of his house. "It's barely enough for the children, but it's better than nothing."

    The water deliverer Pascal does not have the money to buy a drum of such munificence. For the seven members of his household, there are seven 20-litre cans on the stoop.

    "I haul water every day, but I have the same problem as everyone else," he said. – Nampa/AFP

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