Marginalised communities in need of N$157 million

Namibia’s marginalised communities are in need of N$157 million to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in the coming few months, a senior government official has said.

The Deputy Minister for Marginalised Communities in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Royal /Ui/o/oo, says the Ministry has been struggling to meet its yearly feeding programme, education and the roll-over of Conditional Income Basic Grant (CIBG) due to limited funding.

"The feeding programme has always been underfunded, and the current deficit to meet the yearly feeding target stands at over N$157 million to cover the shortfall of eight months, as the annual Appropriation budget can only procure and distribute food once every quarter. Meaning only four times within a year," he recently said in parliament.

"It is key to stress to this house that the economic status of the marginalised groups or indigenous minorities in Namibia; namely the San, Ovatue and Ovatjimba, is still below the national average, with 77% unemployment and 68% poverty rates respectively."

The Deputy Minister added that it was disheartening to witness cases of child malnutrition in marginalised communities, 33 years after independence.

"The feeding scheme under the Division is responsible for hunger and malnutrition alleviation. You might be aware, there are alarming reports of malnutrition in children and in sad cases have led to death. It is therefore important that this programme be strengthened so that we bring hunger-related child mortality rates down to zero. No child should die due to hunger after nearly 33 years of independence," he stressed.

/Ui/o/oo further said his hands are tied and is unable to convert the Marginalised Communities Special Feeding Programme into a monthly cash transfer, as directed within the Harambee Prosperity Plan II, given the shortfall in the budget.

This is supposed to be the first step to phase in a Conditional Basic Income Grant, which is only to be paid to existing Food Bank and Marginalised Grant beneficiaries.

"I am hopeful Honourable Minister [Iipumbu Shiimi], that the tripartite fiscal policy actions, namely pro-sustainability, pro-poor and pro-growth agenda will reassure the marginalised demographic of their government's commitment to strengthen their social capital and protection nets. As well as its commitment to drastically reduce the alarming percentages of the poverty and unemployment rates in these respective communities," he stated.

"I trust that this area will receive your full support with resource strengthening as our current trusted pro-poor ambassador as there is a community outcry to improve our service delivery in food and nutrition provision."

Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Iipumbu Shiimi allocated the Ministry of Gender, under which the Marginalised Communities fall, N$6.5 billion for the 2023/24 financial year, an increase from N$5.5 billion the previous year.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 March 2023 20:18

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