APP president Ignatius calls for decent accommodation for NDF members

WINDHOEK: All People’s Party (APP) president Ignatius Shixwameni has called for decent accommodation for members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF).

He made this call in the National Assembly on Wednesday during debate on the Ministry of Defence’s N.dollars 6,6 billion budget allocation for the 2014/15 financial year.

“We need to give soldiers decent accommodation, not only barracks,” he stressed.

Shixwameni said soldiers need to be the first priority with the introduction of Government’s Mass Housing project, adding that they should benefit from the first phase of this project.

He also welcomed the retirement package the ministry is currently busy investigating for all members of the Defence Force.

The aim of the retirement package is to ensure that members retiring at different ranks earn a reasonable pension to take care of their social and economic needs.

Meanwhile, Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana supported the regrading of the soldiers’ salaries, saying this may help them to improve on their needs.

Health and Social Services’ Minister Richard Kamwi also supported the ministry’s budget allocation, and commended them for assisting his ministry when they were conducting immunisation campaigns in remote areas as well as in the fight against cholera in the Kunene Region.

Some Members of Parliament (MPs) then commended the ministry for their mini-exhibition last Thursday, which helped them understand how the budget allocation to the ministry would be utilised.

The mini-exhibition was held in the National Assembly’s courtyard before Defence Minister Nahas Angula introduced his ministry’s budget allocation in Parliament then.

In his response, Angula said the problem of accommodation will be a thing of the past very soon.

He said the lack of proper NDF accommodation is a challenge, and had forced the ministry to put recruitment processes for the Defence Force on hold for the last three years.

The renovation of accommodation infrastructure in most military bases is progressing well, while the retirement packages will be implemented as soon as investigations into the process are completed, Angula beamed.