Namibia: Omuthiya Tables Pro-Poor Budget

Despite a reduction in the 2019/20 financial year budget that was reduced by 13.94 percent from N$59 million to N $50.8 million, Omuthiya Town Council in what it termed as a pro-poor budget has decided to maintain water tariffs at N$15 per cubic metres for low-income earners in Kaniita informal settlement and other low-income areas.

While generally consumers, middle and high residential occupants were slapped with 19 and 17.6 percent respectively, the move is set to offset and subsidise low-income earners and reduce the cost from NamWater whose tariff is at N$17.65 per cubic and is likely to increase.

Presenting the budget, the mayor for Omuthiya Katrina Uusiku said the reduction in the budget was due to a decrease in government grant which was slashed from N$28 million given during 2018/19 financial year to N$18 million for 2019/20.

Another factor she indicated was the charged-out amount which jumped from N$6.78 million to N$11.8 million.

"This means the budget income for 2019/20 will subsidise the budgeted expenditures with 74.13 percent extra than the previous financial years," stressed Uusiku, emphasising that council budgeted within available resources and will execute its projects based on that.

She further revealed that council has made a provision of N$8 million towards the completion of services at extension 8, and 20 percent of that amount will be diverted for upgrading of gravel roads. As part of capital project implementation, Uusiku said, council has also made a budget reservation of N$325 000 for the completion of a fire station.

Bringing much delight to the residents, the mayor announced that streetlights will soon be installed at Kaniita informal settlement, adding that council is in the process of developing Omadhiya area where the Kaniita residents can be allocated plots.

In addressing the issue of compensation, she said council has made a budget provision of N$10 million. "This operational budget is of significant amount thus envisaged to be funded by the line ministry if their budget allows. Therefore, take note that, the monies will only reach Omuthiya upon approval," stressed Uusiku.

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