Landless People's Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi has suggested that a basic income grant of N$750 should be introduced for the next 24 months to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 on the less privileged.
"This will live up to the ministers stated goals to 'save lives, save livelihoods, save incomes' and thereby generate demand in the total economy," said Swartbooi who was making his maiden budget contribution as an opposition leader in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
"The BIG, pegged at N$750, should at least operate for 24 months, as a direct response to Covid-19 induced shocks in the labour market, as well as the total economy."
He said the grant that benefited about 747 000 Namibians at the cost of N$561.8 million demonstrated, perhaps without intending to that where political will exists to achieve a common goal, anything will be possible.
"The reality of one country, two societies has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, where the no income and low-income brackets of the country's people have suffered significantly more disproportionately from loss of income, livelihood and self-sustenance tools," he said.
"To this extend, in the ideological stance toward an egalitarian society, away from the one country, two societies reality, LPM is of the view that a basic income grant be introduced immediately." Furthermore, Swartbooi also bemoaned the allocation of the N$174 million to the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, saying the allocation confirms his party's analysis that the government has given up on industrialisation as a key enabler for economic transformation.
"With an amount of N$174 million, the MTI is not positioned to function as a conduit for industrialisation. This trend also invariably affects the so-called ministry of labour receiving N$187 million," he said.
"The brutal fact truth is that the elite have surrendered to the reality that they are just unable to create employment in this country." He added that the embedded political message to those Namibians searching for jobs is that the government is admitting it cannot redress the unemployment question.
"Without jobs, the unbearable and humanely unsustainable material conditions of Namibians will not change, economic transformation will not materialise," he said.