13 February 2017

Namibia: Immigration Services Reduces Operations to Survive

HOME affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana told her staff on Thursday last week in Windhoek that they needed to manage available resources prudently to achieve their goals.

Iivula-Ithana said working overtime, which depletes the meagre ministerial resources, would be discouraged and restricted, and supervisors should set targets for subordinates to complete work during normal working hours.

She also said the ministry was considering introducing electronic management meeting packs and teleconferencing, where possible.

"We are reminded to realign our activities with the available allocated budget. Most capital projects had to be suspended, workshops and retreats should be limited and hosted in Windhoek to reduce costs, including S&T," she stated.

At the same meeting, home affairs permanent secretary Patrick Nandago informed staff that recruitment would only be done for the most critical positions.

"Our financial year has not been that well. The budget which was appropriated for the current financial year could not allow us to execute the envisaged activities as per our annual plan," he said.

Home affairs spokesperson Sackeus Kadhikwa told The Namibian in a separate interview that the construction of the Ohangwena and //Karas regional offices had also been suspended.

Similarly, Kadhikwa said, the ministry has frozen plans to construct accommodation for immigration officials at the Katwitwi border post linking the country with Angola.

Despite these challenges, Iivula-Ithana said last year the ministry had granted citizenship, birth certificates and ID cards to over 200 children born in exile during the same period.

She further said the ministry was piloting and rolling out the e-birth notification system to notify the e-National Population Registration System when a birth has occurred at a hospital to secure the birth details of a child, verify the identity of the mother, and to collect accurate data about all child births in the country.

"The system will also support efforts to reduce the late registration of births as the collected data can be used to pinpoint population groups or areas where late registrations are prevalent," she noted.

The project is a collaboration between her ministry; the Office of the Prime Minister; the ministries of health; information; safety and security; and the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA).

The minister said the testing of the system would start mid-February, while the launch will be done in March.

Home affairs' budget was cut by N$27 million from N$497 million last year.

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