No increase in pension unacceptable: RDP

WINDHOEK: The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) says it is unacceptable that the 2014/15 National Budget does not include an increase in old-age pensions.

RDP Member of Parliament (MP), Heiko Lucks made the remarks in the National Assembly (NA) during his contribution to the budget here on Thursday, saying that an increase only every second year will continue to increase the destitute of senior citizens.

“Prices of basic goods and services needed for them to lead a decent and worthy life are increasing much more regularly than only every two years,” he complained.

The finance minister said while tabling the latest budget last month that the elderly will only get an increase during the 2015/16 financial year.

The elderly currently receive N.dollars 600 in old-age pension grants each.

Lucks further complained about the massive increase in the national debt year after year, stating that the country is on a dangerous path.

“I have mentioned this in previous years, and the minister will not convince me that this growth in debt is within control, especially when the growth is at a staggering 27.2 per cent. Our mushrooming debt will haunt us in the years to come,” he stressed.

Swapo Party MP Uutoni Nujoma, however, wanted to know from Lucks which country in the world does not have challenges, before stating that even the United States of America (USA), which is the biggest economy in the world, has trillions of debt.

Lucks then responded that he was referring to the inability of the Swapo-ruled government of dealing with challenges.

Meanwhile, the RDP MP also expressed disbelief that the country is now in its second year without a Deputy Minister of Finance.

“Let me be clear that I have confidence in the abilities of the minister (Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila), but let me also be clear that I find it absolutely unacceptable that she, for such a prolonged time, has to operate without a deputy,” he noted.

Lucks wanted to know if this is perhaps a sign that President Hifikepunye Pohamba does not consider the ministry important enough to appoint a deputy.

Perhaps, he said, the president could be faced with a dilemma that there are no suitable, competent MPs within the ranks of the Swapo party that could be appointed to such an important position.

“Or perhaps, the president will inform the nation about this unacceptable situation during the State of the Nation address,” Lucks suggested.