Andrew Kathindi

The Swapo Party of Namibia Youth League (SPYL)’s Secretary, Ephraim Nekongo, is calling on the Government to re-examine the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF)’s top brass’s salary structure.

Nekongo says this should be part of the Government’s effort to urgently re-organise the whole institution. “The salary structures of NSFAF must not be higher than that of the public sector. The institution barely makes N$0.50 (0.50 cents) per year to supplement the Government’s annual budget. As a result, having employees paid millions of dollars to push papers is laughable.”

NSFAF has been ordered by the Labour Commissioner to pay around N$2.5 million in 16 months of backpay by 31 August to its suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hilya Nghiwete. Nghiwete was dismissed by NSFAF in February 2020 following nearly two years of suspension for alleged maladministration and misconduct. She is set to return to her position as CEO in September.

Nekongo further questions NSFAF’s top management’s wage bill stating that there was not much work being done that at the institution to warrant the high salaries. He calls on the ministers of Finance and Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Iipumbu Shiimi and Itah Kandjii-Murangi respectively, to solve the matter.

Ministry of Finance Spokesperson, Tonateni Shidhudhu, told Windhoek Observer that the call is misdirected and should rather be directed to the Ministry of Public Enterprises (MPE).

MPE Minister, Leon Jooste, haven’t responded to questions sent to him by the time of publication. Meanwhile, the SPYL Secretary, Nekongo, calls on the Government to look into other organisational issues at the parastatal. “We urge the NSFAF’s parenting minister to ensure that the NSFAF Board’s governance and performance agreements include practical improvements to the award and payment processes, respectively. The Board’s oversight function should then be cascaded as a key performance indicator to the Fund’s management. This is the only way we will be able to ensure that the Fund not only serves students, but also does so in a timely manner.”