Namibia: First Batch of Grant Beneficiaries Paid

A total of N$110 million has been released to the first batch of recipients who qualified for the Emergency Income Grant.

The Ministry of Finance yesterday announced that a total of 146 974 recipients benefited from the income grant.

"The Ministry of Finance is pleased to announce that payment to the first batch of recipients of the Emergency Income Grant (EIG) was made today. These payments amount to N$110 230 500," spokesperson for the ministry, Tonateni Shidhudhu, said.

A total of 327 528 applications were received countrywide since the finance ministry, in collaboration with MTC and MobiPay, started operating the SMS line for EIG applications last Friday.

From the applications received, 180 554 were rejected.

PROCESS DELAYED

"The payment process was a little bit delayed due to a strict verification process to ensure that the grant is given to the rightful applicants while maintaining the credibility of the process," Shidhudhu said.

While the Covid-19 lockdown was extended to 4 May, the spokesperson said the once-off payment of N$750 per qualifying person on the basis of having lost income or experienced difficult circumstances, is only meant for the first three weeks of the lockdown.

"With the extension of the lockdown, government will re-evaluate the situation and redirect support to the critical affected areas depending on the availability of funds," the spokesperson said.

The ministry also encountered a number of fraudulent applications, during the application process.

Shidhudhu said multiple entries of ID numbers, applications for deceased people and those appearing on the database of the Social Security Commission, NSFAF, Veterans' Affairs as well as applicants who are not within the 18 to 59 age group applied for the EIG.

REJECTED

A total of 242 applications were rejected on the basis of using ID numbers belonging to deceased people and 57 applications were rejected as the ID numbers were found in the record of veterans' grants.

The spokesperson said some applications were also blocked after cases of stolen ID cards linked to such applications were reported to the ministry.

In addition, 31 846 applications were rejected after they were found in taxpayer records.

The ministry urged recipients to use the grant responsibly for essential items that contribute to their livelihood.

They further warned the public not to use personal identification documents of others without authorisation to avoid corruption charges when applying for the grant.

"Criminal charges will be pressed against those who are found to have falsely claimed benefits under this scheme.

"In the same vein, those who happen to miss their ID cards and suspect fraud must contact the MTC call centre for verification," he said.

INFORMAL TRADERS

President Hage Geingob yesterday announced that informal traders would be able to sell goods with the exemption of restricted goods such as alcohol, under strict social distancing and hygienic conditions.

The Namibian has since the lockdown reported concerns by vendors and informal traders across the country about the effects the lockdown would have on their livelihoods.

Thirty-one-year-old entrepreneur Desiree, who sells perishable goods at Tsumeb said she was one of thousands whose application for the Emergency Income Grant were rejected.

She is receiving a social grant for her children.

However, she expressed gratitude to the government that she would now be able to sell her goods.

"I am happy though, that at least, we can do something now," she said.

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