Laziness, Grants and Researchers

DEPUTY fisheries minister Chief Samuel Ankama has suggested that the government should ask people to work for food instead of getting it free of charge.

Ankama made these remarks in the National Assembly on Friday during the last day of the national budget debate.

“People should work for the food. If you eat and have not worked for it, matter of fact, you are a thief,” he said during the budget of the ministry of poverty eradication.

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba, who called party members poor last year, also commented on the budget vote.

He spoke about appreciating what the country is doing in eradicating poverty, warning about the syndrome of entitlement.

He said just because one is poor does not make it right to demand. Minister of poverty eradication Zephania Kameeta said that state grants will be tailored in a way that they do not make people “slaves of charity”.

“It is to empower them, so that they can stand up for themselves and regain their dignity,” Kameeta said.

Asked who the beneficiaries of the grants will be, the bishop said government is looking at the working group that does not pay tax and include the unemployed as well.

Kameeta said the government will not police how people use the grants but warned that the state will step in if it is convinced the grants are being misused.

He said the ministry will consult nationwide and go on trips to countries like Bolivia and Brazil to research how poverty alleviation projects are implemented.

Kameeta said the ministry will introduce smart cards to be used by grant receivers. The ministry will get N$2,7 billion for this year’s budget, of which over N$2 billion will go towards social grants to around 190 000 people.

Kameeta’s ministry will also provide funeral cover for its beneficiaries. A food bank is also set to be formed with an allocation of N$6,6 million.

EDUCATION

Commenting during the budget vote of the ministry of higher education on Friday, finance minister Calle Schlettwein said it is high time that learning institutions such as the University of Namibia and Polytechnic provide the government with the skills it needs or face reduction of state funds as punishment.

He said government ‘s financial injection into education institutions should depend on the supply of quality graduates into the market.

Minister of economic planning Tom Alweendo agreed with Schlettwein over the issue of pumping unneeded qualifications into the labour market.

Alweendo specifically referred to the National Human Resource Plan 2010 – 2025 of the National Planning Commission, which maps out what kind of jobs Namibia needs during that period to move the economy.

“The knowledge economy that we want is not going to happen with the current injection (of workers),” he said.

Alweendo also explained how the government’s funding into research and development at tertiary institutions is around N$300million lower than what government strategies require. Research currently receives around N$75 million.

Information minister Tjekero Tweya accused Namibian researchers of being “library-based researchers” who are mostly confined to buildings, while the actual research is being done by foreigners.

Tweya also suggested that parliament adopts a law that will stop companies from asking many years’ experience from people who are hunting for jobs.

Source : The Namibian