Observer Money

Halted infrastructure projects to cost Govt

Halted infrastructure projects to cost Govt

…TransNamib juggles lockdown decline in transport demand Andrew Kathindi The decision by the government to halt construction activity in the country as part of the lockdown regulations could come back to haunt it. It has emerged that the government may be obliged to pay millions more to complete the various infrastructure projects. The current lockdown prohibits a gathering of more than 10 people. Non-essential workers must stay at home. This has halted construction projects, including national road works countrywide. “With these works halted across the country, such as the Okahandja highway and Hosea Kutako upgrades and social infrastructure development at…
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Air Namibia to reassess COVID-19 impact

Air Namibia to reassess COVID-19 impact

Andrew Kathindi Air Namibia Acting MD Elia Erastus said the airline will review the full impact of COVID-19 on its operations after 36 months even though they’ve managed to fully retain staff and pay salaries during the lockdown. Erastus revealed that Air Namibia has had zero revenue generation in the last month. He was hopeful the relaxation of lockdown regulations would allow the airline to focus on internal flights and generate some revenue. Erastus said the national airline will focus on regional flights to curb competition. He points out that the negative ripple effect of COVID-19 on airline operations is…
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China debt relief not on the table-Shiimi

China debt relief not on the table-Shiimi

Staff Writer Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi says government has not considered appealing for debt relief from China, in light of the increased financial burden that the emergence of COVID-19 has had on government coffers. This comes as government has continued to dig deep to fund various grants to assist those that have been hardest-hit by the effect of COVID 19 such as businesses and workers in tourism, construction and other service sectors. “It is not something that we have looked at and we don’t have a government position on that,” the finance minister said. Of the N$93 billion that government…
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Namibia faces malnutrition headache

Namibia faces malnutrition headache

Andrew Kathindi Nutrition experts have warned that cases of malnutrition in the country could rise due to increased job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are food secure as a nation but household’s access to food is becoming a challenge as financial resources are not available due to the ongoing loss of income and employment,” said Senior UNAM Lecturer, Nutritionist and founding Nutrition and Food Security Alliance of Namibia (NAFSAN) Board Member, Charlotte Keyter. She said the ongoing retrenchment and loss of income for those in the informal sector because of the COVID19 pandemic was impacting on…
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SSC rolls out salary protection scheme

SSC rolls out salary protection scheme

…recipients must agree to not retrench for three months Andrew Kathindi The Social Security Commission (SSC) has officially unveiled the National Employment and Salary Protection Scheme for COVID-19 to cater for nine hard-hit sectors, including domestic workers. This relief package which comes to the value of N$623 million is being delivered in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, which will provide N$400 million in cash from the taxpayer collections, with the balance coming from the SSC. SSC Executive officer Milka Mugunda said the sectors most hard hit by the pandemic will benefit, but the rollout will start with the tourism,…
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Govt still to act on De Klerk extradition

Govt still to act on De Klerk extradition

Staff Writer Despite numerous announcements by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Windhoek Observer can reveal that no action has been taken with regards to extraditing accused Fishrot connected lawyer, Marén de Klerk from South Africa. De Klerk left the country in January after being questioned by the ACC and never returned. He is wanted by the authorities to answer questions about his alleged role in the Fishrot scandal. It is alleged De Klerk may have syphoned funds to the tune of N$50 million from the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) through the trust account of his law firm, De…
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N$600m lost in the arts sector

N$600m lost in the arts sector

Andrew Kathindi The chairman of the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN), Patrick Sam says around N$600 million in potential revenue has been lost in the Namibian arts and entertainment sector due to the COVID-19. He attributes this to a number of shows, events, arts sector based public gatherings that have been cancelled or postponed as well as advertising firms’ projects called off due to the lockdown. “We currently have 143 individual members and 22 organizations registered. There are no statistics available to gather the data of the wide-reaching impact of the pandemic because the sector has not been prioritized…
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Lockdown hits construction sector

Lockdown hits construction sector

Staff Writer The Construction Industries Federation says its members want to start work immediately after the lockdown period has ended on 4 May 2020 or there will be mass retrenchments and company bankruptcies in the sector. “We appreciate the enormous effort taken to contain the spread of the virus and the support extended to individuals and businesses, where possible. Nonetheless, we are extremely worried that most of our businesses will not survive the lock-down period,” Bärbel Kirchner, CIF General Manager said. “We are extremely worried about the impact on our businesses that we can foresee now as result of measures…
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Govt, employers clash looms

Govt, employers clash looms

Staff Writer A showdown is looming between employers and government over new proposed regulations that make it illegal for employers to dismiss, retrench or send employees home on unpaid leave during the lockdown. This comes as employer organizations have warned that legal action could be considered should government move ahead to gazette the proposed regulations into law. “We would like to get back to the table with ministry and other organizations that feel aggrieved by the proposed regulations. It’s not only the Namibian Employers Association (NEA) that feels this way but other organisations too. If all else fails then we…
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National silos empty

National silos empty

Andrew Kathindi Agriculture, water and land reform executive director Percy Misika has revealed that the country’s food security has been compromised as national silos are empty. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed government’s preparedness for emergencies as there is currently insufficient food supply stored in the nation’s grain reserves. “The silos are empty but all is not lost because from our assessment from the current cropping season we are expecting 64,000 tons of white maize and 1,800 tons of pale millet. This would be over and above what is necessary for sustaining Namibian households for food security and which can be…
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