Namibia: Spy Agency Overspent Budget By N$244m

THE Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) last year overspent its operational budget by at least N$244 million.

This according to the minister in the Presidency, Christine //Hoebes, who was speaking in the National Assembly on Monday afternoon.

The NCIS was allocated N$246 million, of which N$199 930 000 was meant for its operational budget and N$45,9 million for its development budget.

However, the intelligence services spent N$444,1 million on its operational budget, while its initial allocation was about N$200 million.

This time around, the Presidency increased the NCIS' budget to N$317 million, which constitutes a N$71 million injection.

In 2019, former finance minister Calle Schletwein said the agency's development budget would be N$55 million in 2021, but this has tripled.

There have been calls, including from parliamentarians, to reform the intelligence agency and other secretive military agencies to share the necessary information on how taxpayers' money is used.

"The NCIS detects and identifies threats or potential threats to the security of Namibia, and thereby contributes to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the country," //Hoebes said while motivating the Presidency's budget allocation.

All other ministries and offices received serious budget cuts, but the Presidency now sits at an allocation of N$609 million, after last year's N$490 million.

The increase in the Presidency is a N$125 million allocated for "investment, promotion and facilitation", according to budget documents.

The Presidency recently established the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board to improve the country's investment competitiveness.

//Hoebes said the major cost drivers in the Presidency were the transfers of commercial councillors and trade attachés, utilities, maintenance, Covid -19-related goods and services, as well as transfers to Namibia's investment promotion and development board.

The former presidents' office will receive N$15 million, while the vice president's office is set to get N$10 million.

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