Party Time – Top Officials Get N$55 Million for Entertainment

IT WILL not be all work without play for politicians and top civil servants this year after government allocated N$55 million for entertainment and N$33 million to enable all ministries to host visitors and buy them gifts.

According to the budget presented by finance minister Calle Schlettwein last month, entertainment for top government officials for the next three years will gobble up N$180 million, while ministries will have a kitty of N$100 million for gifts and hosting of visitors.

Budget documents show that government will spend over N$65 million on office entertainment from 2015 to 2017 – that is about N$21 million per year.

In addition, more than N$14 million was allocated for politicians’ entertainment this year – that is N$6 million now and N$4 million for the next two years.

The N$33 million meant for gifts and hosting of visitors will be used mostly by top government officials during ministerial functions or meetings. Office refreshments for government leaders will be around N$65 million in the next three years, translating to more than N$20 million per year.

Schlettwein told The Namibian yesterday that millions planned for enjoyment appear a huge figure but they become smaller when divided between ministries.

He said that they are necessary to create a good environment during meetings.

Schlettwein said perks such as office entertainment are used by politicians or government leaders when they, for instance, host global leaders in Namibia.

The Office of President Hage Geingob will receive over N$13 million in the next three years for entertainment.

The offices of the former presidents will receive over N$1,3 million for entertainment from 2014 to 2017.

During the same period, the Office of the Prime Minister will receive more than N$8 million to entertain officials.

The state is known for hosting workshops throughout the year. Budget documents show that the government will spend close to N$1 billion in the next three years for training and workshops. This translates to close to N$350 million per year.

Around N$450 million has been budgeted for printing and aertising in the next three years, meaning the government will spend around N$150 million per year.

The government has budgeted over N$460 million for security contracts from this year to 2017.

Even though the decision by the government to be transparent on how much will be spent on entertainment of top officials in government, there is still a lot to be done to ensure access to information on the national budget.

The weekly Tender Board Bulletin reported last week that part of the budget on the provision of goods and services still remain a secret.

The tender board newsletter said the biggest chunk of the N$2,4 billion under the same programme for services such as maintenance and installation of water and electricity also remains unknown.

Source : The Namibian