Students threaten to shut down NSFAF nationwide

Windhoek-Students from different institutions of higher learning under the leadership of the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) yesterday gave the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) a one-day ultimatum to deliver on their demands or risk a nationwide shutdown of its offices.

The students, who marched to the NSFAF head office yesterday morning, are demanding that the fund pays their tuition fees in full and abolishes using the services of middleman-company Nam-mic Financial Solutions. We have received numerous complaints from the student populace regarding the slow pace of NSFAF's modus-operandi when it comes to the disbursement of award letters for students seeking funding, as well as the payment of existing loan holders' tuition and non-tuition fees, said Kanepolo Amunime, Nanso chairman in Khomas Region.

The students demand that payment be made to intuitions where they are studying before the exams commence.

Due to the current economic situation in the country, payment of 50 percent of non-tuition fees should be made into students' accounts and from 2018 onwards, such fees should be paid in the first quarter of the year, or on a monthly basis, the marching students further demanded.

They threatened that if NSFAF does not meet their demands they will camp at the NSFAF offices until their demands are met.

Receiving the students' petition, NSFAF human capital and corporate affairs officer Olavi Hamwele assured the students that their demands would be looked into with urgency.

I can assure you that your demands are the same issues already raised with the minister [of higher education] on October 12, added Hamwele.

Last month the fund indicated that it was experiencing cashflow problems. Furthermore, payments to the beneficiaries were pending due to the unavailability of funds.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon NSFAF again highlighted the tight cashflow problems it finds itself in, which impedes its ability to effect student payments.

The statement indicates that for this year the number of eligible students in need of financial assistance is estimated to be 18,000, which is 5,000 more than what was budgeted for and forecast.

This number of students, coupled with our continuing students, brings the total student budget for 2017 to N$1.3 billion, while the total allocation for NSFAF for 2017 stands at N$962 million, explained NSFAF CEO Hilya Nghiwete.

But NSFAF assured students that all the necessary arrangements have been made with institutions of higher learning to ensure that they are not affected in terms of class attendance and sitting for their examinations.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia