SWAKOPMUND - The Ministry of Poverty Eradiation and Social Welfare through a blueprint on poverty eradication will explore a new type of a social grant to target unemployed, poor and vulnerable Namibians not catered for under existing grants.
Namibia has implemented a raft of social protection policies and programmes such as the basic state grant, child welfare and war veterans grant, food bank and others that are fragmented.
This was revealed by the Minister of Poverty Eradication, Bishop Zephania Kameeta, in Swakopmund during a three-day workshop on social grants paid out to the needy. The poverty eradication workshop started Monday and ended yesterday.
The ministry is currently exploring mechanisms to roll out a grant scheme for those in need but are excluded from existing grants, and such basic income will help alleviate the suffering of the destitute.
“There are a number of poor, vulnerable and marginalised Namibians who are not covered by the current social protection systems and live in abject poverty. A typical example is when a vulnerable child reaches the age of 16, he or she falls out of the social protection system, unless such a child is disabled,” he said.
He said the envisaged grant will also provide those living in extreme poverty with choices and allow them to diversify their life-supporting systems to cope better with their unfortunate circumstances.
“There is more that can be done beyond the ambits of social protection. For instance, young people need support to acquire skills that enable them to find decent work or be provided with the necessary start-up capital to start their own enterprises. Women and men who wish to do business need a more enabling regulatory environment and equitable access to credit, services and procurement opportunities,” further stated the poverty eradication minister.
Kameeta said statistics on poverty have shown significant coverage and inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised Namibians through the implementation of numerous social protection policies.
“The coverage for pension and disability grants stood at 96 and 70 percent, respectively, during the previous financial year, while child grants and school feeding covered about 34 percent of children in the country. The newly launched food bank programme also reached 15,000 households during the previous financial year,” Kameeta says.
However, he noted that despite these significant strides, the Namibian social protection systems remain fragmented and exclusive.
“Hence it is crucial that we look at mechanisms that will see full inclusivity of those that are really poor, vulnerable and marginalised so that we can also improve their living conditions,” he said.
Information availed to New Era earlier this year indicated that government on average spent N$251 million monthly during the 2017/18 financial year on a N$1,200 monthly allowance per person for 41,061 people living with disabilities and 170,386 senior citizens.