Rundu — Cymot has halted the supply of equipment and tools to several government ministries due to overdue invoices amounting to a combined N$188 845.
Finance departments within ministries such as Agriculture, Water and Forestry; Fisheries and Marine Resources; Defence; Health and Social Services; and Environment and Tourism are among the guilty. The Namibian Police (under the Ministry of Safety and Security) is also said to be among the defaulters.
According to official figures provided to New Era, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has the biggest outstanding debt of N$58 253.65 followed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources with a debt of N$47 258. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has a debt of N$36 295, while the Ministry of Defence owes N$17 163.
The Namibian Police owe N$14 884; the Ministry of Environment and Tourism N$11 949 and the Ministry of Education N$3 040.
According to Cymot, the government is mainly guilty of late payments because monies due are often paid into wrong accounts and are further delayed by bank reversal processes.
All regional government offices are said to be making use of one central account. Cymot is one of government's main suppliers of equipment such as safety wear, camping gear, and cleaning materials such as brooms, rakes and mops.
Cymot's senior debtors clerk, Jacky Ickua, urged the ministries to rectify any problems relating to the accounts that they use. "Although there is proof that they have deposited money, the fact remains that it is paid into the wrong accounts. Therefore I am urging the ministries to fix this problem and clear their accounts," she said.
Ickua said during a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday although Cymot is supposed to freeze the accounts of defaulting ministries the company is very lenient towards government.
"If people need tents to go into the field in Oshakati, we can't deny them that because their colleagues from Rundu did not settle their invoices," she explained.
With most of the supplies forming a core component of the overall activities of the ministries, there are fears by Cymot that with the 'holding' of some ministerial accounts, some ministries might migrate to new suppliers while they are settling their bills.
She said most of the finance departments within the various ministries are aware of the situation.