Government avails N$183 million to settle debts incurred during free water supply during COVID-19

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

The government, through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development of Namibia, has availed N$183 million to be paid to regional councils, local authorities and NamWater for costs incurred in free water supplied to vulnerable groups of society during the Covid-19 lockdown period in 2020.

Minister Erastus Uutoni, announced recently that the money is part of the N$ 2.5 billion allocated to his ministry for the 2024/25 financial year.

Another amount of N$113 million is to assist local authorities in paying compensation for land that was allocated and occupied under customary land rights but has since become part of townlands under the administration of local authorities. Another amount of N$10 million was allocated for the support of the fire brigade and emergency services by local authorities.

“Budgetary support of N$4,5 million to Karasburg Town Council for the construction of a fire emergency station, training of 20 local authorities staff on basic fire-fighting as well as procurement of fire-fighting gears for 11 local authorities, and finalisation of stakeholders’ consultations on the new Land Compensation Policy, to mention a few,” said Uutoni.

The minister further added that his ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Works and Transport in consultations with regional councils in preparation for the planned decentralisation of Government Garages to regional councils.

“Furthermore, the two Ministries conducted an assessment on the incorporation and effective execution of the decentralised (delegated) Maintenance functions by Regional Councils, the exercise has so far covered the Zambezi, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto Regional Councils. The remaining Regional Councils will be covered during the 2024/2025 financial year.

I wish to thank and commend the Hon Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Transport and his team as well as the two regional Councils for this collaborative effort,” he expressed.

Further stating that during the 2023/24 financial period, the ministry had also commissioned and undertook the process of reviewing and amending the Regional Councils’ Act, 1992 (Act no. 22 of 1992) with a view to address identified gaps and challenges in the application of the Act as well as administration of the affairs of Regional Councils.

Therefore, the final draft Amendment Bill has been completed and submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation for further scrutiny.

“In order to ensure the effective operation of regional and local authority councils in general and in the area of financial management and reporting in particular, the ministry facilitated an accredited International Public Sector Accounting Standards course which was conducted by the University of Pretoria for some 23 staff members from regional councils,” alluded Uutoni.

Related Posts