WINDHOEK-- The number of number of social grant recipients in Namibia, comprising beneficiaries of old age pensions and the disability grants has increased in the last fiscal year to 211,447 from 204,621 recorded during the 2016/17 fiscal year, according to figures provided to Parliament by the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta.

Kameeta said the number of old age grant beneficiaries rose from 165,376 to 170,386, while the disability grant beneficiaries increased from 39,245 to 41,061 during the period under review. The Ministry has allocated 77 million Namibian dollars (about 6.16 million USD) for the 2018/19 financial year to facilitate the provision of these services.

The ministry's budget appropriation for 2018/19 amounts to 3.439 billion NAD; and 10.356 billion over the 2018/19-2020/21 Medium Term Framework (MTEF).

The budget allocations of the poverty eradication ministry takes into consideration the national call to eradicate poverty in line with the Fifth National Development Plan, the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the Implementation Plan of the Blueprint on Wealth Redistribution and Poverty Eradication, said Kameeta.

As a proportion of the allocation, social grants make up 92 per cent of the ministry?s total budget allocation, according to the minister. The ministry has allocated an amount of N.dollars 3.17 billion NAD to social assistance transfers to old age and disability grant beneficiaries.

A further 26.227 million NAD are allocated to the administration of social grants.