10 June 2019

Namibia: Govt Should Reduce Fuel for Ministers - Venaani

Windhoek — The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) opposition leader McHenry Venaani has called on government to strictly control petrol cards issued to ministers and senior government members for official duty.

Venaani proposed that ministers should rather be given two tanks of fuel a month rather than the wanton spending currently being observed, saying that those who have been ministers since the early 1990's have spent a whopping N$7 million each on fuel alone.

Venaani made the remarks during a press conference on how government should implement austerity measures. He said if government wants people to make a two percent voluntary salary contribution, government must walk the talk by curtailing petrol cards, minimising motorcades, end spouse travelling allowance, reduce three ministerial vehicles to one and cut entertainment allowances. He also said government must review State Owned Enterprise (SOEs) board fees, curtail government officials flying business class and control cellphone allowance for high government officials.

Venaani charged government ministers and senior government officials using petrol cards are the largest white-collar crime the country has ever seen. Venaani's comments come in light of government's request for a two percent voluntary contribution to state coffers.

"We have seen ministers running errands with government petrol. You are sitting in London at government meeting and you (minister) call your driver to go to the farm to take your animal lick on government cost. Or you (minister) are sitting at a conference in the South and send your driver to take cements of bags to your sites. You can not run a system that is not controlled," stated Venaani, adding that he is aware that President Hage Geingob wrote to two officials who overspent on fuel and need to pay.

He stated that with these savings, government can provide the needed assistance to people such as providing sanitation amongst others.

He added that if government is demanding others to make a contribution, they must show course and bring austerity measures in the country.

The outspoken PDM leader also called to an end to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila's large motorcade.

"If you look at the motorcade of the current prime minister and compare it to the prime minister of England Theresa May, who is in first world country and large economy and if you look at our prime minister who is number three in the echelon of power and the cars she is using are more expensive than May is using in England.

"I am saying we must end this Mercedes Benz that are being used as blue lights. It is fine for Prime Minister or Vice President but the next cars carrying them as blue lights should be a corolla," he added.

Venaani also called for a small motorcade for former presidents compared to what it is now. He further stated ministers three vehicles should be reduced to one. He said ministers are entitled to two vehicles, an off road, sedan and other third vehicle. "During this calamity, PDM is saying that ministerial cars should be reduced to one vehicle."

On spousal travelling allowance, Venaani said the only person who should be allowed to travel with their spouse should be the President- for now.

He said those who hold high position in government both get travelling allowance for themselves and their partners although when they go to the events, they share the same accommodation facility.

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