Farmworkers abusing income grant - NAU

29 April 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says some farmworkers are abusing the emergency income grant made available by government for those who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus lockdown period.

The government earlier this month announced that N$562 million has been made available for workers who have lost their jobs. These workers can apply electronically for a one-off amount of N$750 and will receive it within 48 hours via e-wallet. According to the NAU, some farmworkers who did not lose their jobs applied for the grant and received it with forged declarations that they have lost their work.



Fraud

“This fraud has been brought under the attention of the finance ministry and we are waiting for their feedback. In the meantime, we appeal to farmers to inform their workers that this grant is only for workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus and that they can be prosecuted if they make fraudulent declarations to get this grant,” the NAU warned.



Salary subsidy

The NAU also elaborated on the N$700 million made available by government to subsidise salaries and wages in the formal business sector.

The union said this is being done to support the economy and to limit job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similar measures have been taken in other countries.

“The most affected businesses are construction, manufacturing, retail, domestic work, entertainment, agriculture, tourism and hospitality… we are grateful (for the subsidy) as this is to the advantage of our farmers who are rebuilding after the drought.”

The union said the Social Security Commission (SSC) will most probably administer these salary subsidies, and as soon as the modalities are available, it will inform members.



No NamPower tariff hikes

In other news, the NAU said the union, together with other stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry, made an urgent request to NamPower and the Electricity Control Board (ECB) to consider a decrease in electricity tariffs due to the previous season's drought and the effect of the coronavirus on the economy.

This was after NamPower applied at the ECB for an annual inflation increase of 3.9% to electricity tariffs, which would start on 1 July.

The ECB has announced that they rejected NamPower's request for a tariff increase and that the tariffs will remain unchanged until 30 June 2021.

“If inflation is taken into consideration for a two-year period, it means that a non-increase in electricity tariffs for the second successive year actually is a decrease in tariffs in real terms, for which we would like to thank the ECB and NamPower on behalf of our members,” the NAU said.

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