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Over N$39m paid in employee relief scheme

2020-08-24  Maihapa Ndjavera

Over N$39m paid in employee relief scheme
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Maihapa Ndjavera
The Social Security Commission (SSC) and the Ministry of Finance, through the National Employment and Salary Protection Scheme, have paid over N$39 million to employees as part of the Covid-19 relief package. 
 At the launch in April this year, finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the scheme was an effort to save jobs and reduce the potentially devastating impact on employment due to the pandemic. 
 The closing date of the scheme was 31 July 2020 and about 41 092 employees applied, of whom 18 115 were rejected for not meeting the requirements. 
 According to the SSC, 3 644 employers applied for the stimulus package. 
 Acting senior manager of communication and marketing of SSC Castro Tjizoo said there is a positive indication the employers will start receiving their funds by the end of this week or the beginning of next week. 
“To benefit from this programme, applicants should be earning less than N$50 000 per annum; they should have been registered with the SSC for less than six months, and they should be able to prove loss of income related to Covid-19.” 
The scheme was part of the Covid-19 relief measures undertaken by government and SSC. 
The finance ministry had allocated N$400 million, while SSC pledged N$253 million to the scheme. 
Shiimi stated the scheme was planned to discourage employers from retrenching employees in the short-term and provide support for individuals who suffered a loss of income as a result of Covid-19. 
He said SSC has a database with over 43 000 employers, comprising more than 372 000 employees, and that placed it in a perfect position to be an implementing agency for the scheme. 
Shiimi stated the database was to serve as the key population from which potential recipients of relief will be sought. 
According to him, contributions to social security are a legislative requirement. 
Those who are not in compliance with the law should not be considered beneficiaries of these programmes. 
The scheme encompassed two main objectives: the first being the employer wage subsidy programme that focused on the hard-hit industries of aviation, tourism and construction. 
Through this programme, employers of affected industries will get a subsidy based on the total wage bill, driven by an SSC contribution waiver and a cash injection from the government. 
The aim is to give employers a cash subsidy of 17% of their total wage bill and an SSC contribution holiday, or both for three months. 
Shiimi said through the programme, prospective beneficiary employers should agree not to retrench staff for three months and should not reduce staff salaries by more than 50%.

2020-08-24  Maihapa Ndjavera

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