Windhoek — A shortfall of N$87,3 million is anticipated in monthly payments of liberation struggle veterans' allowance due to a huge number of former fighters retiring from active service.
This was revealed by Hilma Nicanor, Deputy Minister for Veterans' Affairs, who motivated the veterans' budget for the 2019/2020 financial year in the National Council last week.
Under the subvention grant (payment of monthly allowance) programme, an amount of N$355,49 million is allocated for this purpose.
Nicanor revealed that at the end of 2018/2019 financial year, the number of veterans receiving the monthly subvention allowance stood at 16 056, with a corresponding total expenditure amounting to N$398,47 million.
She said it is therefore important to note that this number is not static, and would increase as it is anticipated that 1,679 veterans will be retiring from active service during the 2019/220 financial year.
She confirmed the total forecast expenditure of subvention for 2019/2020 financial year is estimated at an amount of N$442,69 million.
"A shortfall of N$87,305 million is anticipated under this activity," she disclosed.
Under improvement of welfare of the ex-People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) combatants, Nicanor said N$167,498 million is allocated for this sub-programme.
However, she pointed out it is anticipated that 313 ex-Plan combatants who qualify for welfare improvement grant will retire from active service. "A shortfall of N$15,024 million is expected," she said.
In addition, under the programme of individual veteran projects, 23 261 individual veterans project applications were received since inception of the programme.
She said 11 200 of these projects were funded, whereas 12 061 have been approved by the Veterans Board and are awaiting funds.
An amount of N$2 million is allocated to fund the individual veteran projects during the 2019/2020 financial year, which will cater for 10 projects only.
Moreover, she stated veterans' affairs is obligated to accord veterans dignified and befitting burial and therefore, offers funeral assistance to families of deceased veterans.
In this regard, she said veterans' affairs also provides for the erection of tombstones on the graves of deceased veterans.
An amount of N$2 million is requested for the funeral assistance while N$1 million is required for the erection of tombstones.
As part of the socio-economic integration of the veterans into the mainstream, veterans' affairs provide education and skills training grants to veterans and their dependents for studies or skills upgrading.
Currently, Nicanor revealed a total of 43 beneficiaries are receiving funding for their studies. An amount of N$2,2 million is requested for this sub-programme.
Another programme is the medical assistance and counselling whose purpose is to provide psychosocial and spiritual counselling to veterans as well as the provision of medical assistance where the state health facilities are unable to provide such services.
An amount of N$1,25 million is requested for this sub-programme.
In accordance with the Veterans Act, 2008 (Act No. 2 of 2008), an amount of N$1 million is prescribed to be transferred annually to the Namibia National Liberation Association.
This is a recognised veterans' association established to assist veterans of the liberation struggle at community level on issues affecting their welfare.The identification and registration of veterans is aimed at registering veterans and dependents of veterans in order to produce a national veterans' register, as well as the issuance of veterans' identification cards and associated benefits.
Hence, she said in total 55 279 applications have been received of which 30 304 were approved while 24 975 applicants were disapproved. She maintained out of the approved veterans, 3, 643 have since passed away leaving a total of 26 661 living veterans.
An amount of N$1,5 million is required for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Therefore, the National Council approved the requested amount of N$685,060 million to be incurred on the programmes of the department veterans' affairs for the 2019/2020 financial year. The National Council National Council has thus last week passed the 2019Appropriation Bill without amendments, and the house has been adjourned until further notice.