7 March 2008

Namibia: Oshana Receives N$2.5 Million Bailout

Windhoek — Staff at the Oshana Regional Council almost went without pay last month as the council ran out of funds to pay employees' salaries because of under-budgeting.

Due to under-estimations made in terms of its budget focus, the Oshana Regional Council has since last month been operating without money to pay out staff salaries.

Yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Erastus Negonga, confirmed to New Era that the Oshana Regional Council staff would have not received their February salaries had it not been for the ministry that stepped in with a cash bailout of N$2.5 million

The bailout would cover salaries for February and March.

Negonga attributed the budget deficit at the council to an oversight on expected income and expected expenditure.

He said regional councils should avoid making such mistakes.

"Regional councils should project realistic budgets, especially when it comes to expected income and expenditure," Negonga added.

However, Chief Executive Officer of the Oshana Regional Council, John Kandombo, denied having received any money from the ministry.

"We made the request two weeks ago for money but it was for other things (and not salaries). We have secured funds for salaries," he argued.

It appears that the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development approved the N$2.5 million requested but is awaiting approval by the Ministry of Finance.

Kandombo says the regional council is expected to generate its own revenue through resettlement but that is non-functional at present.

The council plans to convert the governor's house into a lodge as another way of generating much-needed revenue.

Currently, the regional council hall is under renovation. Once completed, Kandombo says it will be rented out for community activities and through that, the council can collect some money.

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