CoW set to lose N$524 million through debt relief program

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

The City of Windhoek (CoW) Council has announced a debt relief program for eligible residents and businesses, which will see the city losing a total amount of N$524 million of revenue.

Deputy Mayor, Joseph Uapingene announced this yesterday while giving highlights from the Ordinary Council meeting held last week.

He said the program will offer 100 percent interest cancellation for pensioners and 50 percent interest cancellation for businesses, residential debtors and other debtors.

“The program will start in 2024, and the exact date and application details will be shared with the public later. The council hopes that this program will help residents cope with their bills and encourage regular payments.

Uapingene stated that the debt relief program comes after the city’s debt book rose from N$677 million in 2018 to N$1.2 billion in 2023. In 2018, the council also granted a debt write-off of N$191 million for pensioners and vulnerable residents.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the financial situation of many residents, leading to even more unpaid bills.

The deputy mayor has also announced that the city council has approved the establishment of the Windhoek Education Fund (WEF), a new initiative to support needy students in the city. Which was proposed by Councillor Job Amupanda on 26 April 2022, and approved by the council in accordance with section 30 (l)(p) of the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act 23 of 1992) (as amended).

The fund aims to provide bursaries and loans for educational purposes to students from Windhoek who face challenges in accessing education opportunities. The fund will also contribute to the social well-being of the local community.

“The fund’s seed capital was raised through voluntary contributions from councillors and employees of the municipal council, as requested by the former Mayor, Councillor Dr. Job Amupanda, in a memorandum dated 20 September 2021. City employees can still donate to the WEF by signing up for voluntary monthly payroll deductions.

The deductions range from N$100.00 to N$500.00 per month. The Department of Finance and Customer Services has created a budget vote for the WEF, where the monthly donations are deposited,” stated Uapingene.

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