PSEMAS, wage bill, S&Ts under fire

29 March 2019 | Economics

Public Service Employees Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS) member contributions will be doubled from N$410 million to N$820 million year, effective April 2019.

This was among the immediate targeted interventions announced by finance minister Calle Schlettwein in his budget speech on Wednesday.

Also coming in for some stick was the civil service wage bill, which currently stands at 51% of the government's non-interest operational expenditure, and 15.5% of GDP, and which has increased by 110% in the past five years.

Schlettwein said significant reductions in non-core expenditure had been achieved since the adoption of targeted consolidation measures in 2015/16. He said total spending on subsistence and travel allowances (S&Ts), for instance, had dropped by 62.3% over the past three years, from N$634.3 million in 2015/16 to N$221.8 million in 2018/19.

He said hiring restraint in the public sector called for job creation in the private sector. “We would expect that all accounting officers continue to prevent public spending that is non-core and non-compliant with the cost-saving measures issued by the Office of the Prime Minister. “Policy space for rapid adjustments in the economy is limited and the fiscal stance is constrained on all fronts.

At 49.2 % of GDP, total debt will not allow for further aggressive debt financing as this is not a sustainable option.

He called on the private sector, as the envisaged engine of growth and job creation, to play a bigger role in the economy. He said his ministry would continue to spearhead consultations with the private sector, professional bodies and the newly formed high-level panel on the economy for effective partnerships. While honing in on PSEMAS, Schlettwein said the medical aid scheme covered 95 % of public servants' medical expenses. It received an allocation of N$2.8 billion for 2019/20 and covers 130 000 members and 155 000 dependants. He said to reduce costs and improve efficiency, a peer review mechanism was introduced. The outcome was revealing, the finance minister said.“

During the first round, 82 service providers, including general health practitioners, dentists, hospitals, pharmacists, dental technicians and the medical aid administrator were flagged for suspicious transactions.

“Also, membership and member card fraud were highlighted as a significant cost driver. As a follow-up, a forensic investigation was launched to verify the findings of the peer review and the outcomes were by and large confirmed.

“These findings indicate that PSEMAS suffered from a fraudulent assault launched by stakeholders across the board; service providers, members, administrators, civil servants, everyone had a hand in the till. This investigation is now coming to finality and the culprits are being brought to book. Recovery of N$23 million is envisaged, of which N$13 million has been recovered,” Schlettwein added.

STAFF REPORTER

Similar News

 

World's top companies urge green action

18 hours ago | Economics

Simon Jessop - Some of the world's biggest companies yesterday backed growing calls for governments to do more to reverse the accelerating destruction of the...

Majority women still in running to head WTO

18 hours ago | Economics

Geneva - Three women - two Africans and a South Korean - were among the five candidates still in the running to take the helm...

WeChat, TikTok ban is test for open internet

18 hours ago | Economics

Rob Lever - The US ban on Chinese-owned apps WeChat and TikTok sets up a pivotal legal challenge on digital free expression with important ramifications...

!Gawaxab on his first 100 days

4 days ago - 18 September 2020 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU - Even before the coronavirus crisis, Namibia’s economy was contracting, unemployment was high and fiscal space severely constrained if not exhausted, creating an...

Government support business sector

5 days ago - 17 September 2020 | Economics

Government has paid out N$ 3.8 billion for outstanding invoices and value-added tax in support of the business sector including small and medium enterprises (SMEs)...

Whk informal settlements don’t have capacity

5 days ago - 17 September 2020 | Economics

Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu said unplanned informal settlements in Windhoek will be declared reception areas that will be decongested in order to reduce the spread...

Namibia's investment risk increases - report

5 days ago - 17 September 2020 | Economics

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe risk of investing in Namibia has been increasing, while rewards have been declining, according to a new investment report. The coronavirus pandemic...

Policy void fuels poverty

6 days ago - 16 September 2020 | Economics

JM Kretschmer - The Namibian government has of late come under increased pressure from all sectors of society, and in a key turn of events...

August inflation a bitter fruit

6 days ago - 16 September 2020 | Economics

Although annual overall inflation of 2.4% last month was below the 3.7% of a year ago, overall food inflation is starting to heat up. According...

Hobbling SA govt relief package

6 days ago - 16 September 2020 | Economics

Emma Rumney and Alexander Winning - South Africa's National Treasury plans no further easing of its coronavirus loan scheme criteria to stimulate uptake, it told...

Latest News

Copper struggles on virus resurgence

18 hours ago | Business

Copper prices eased back yesterday from the highest levels in more than two years as Covid-19 cases surged, threatening to curb economic activity and metals...

'Broke' Edgars won't dent Oryx...

18 hours ago | Business

Oryx Properties has shielded itself against possible vacant space in Maerua Mall resulting from Edcon's bankruptcy protection by reaching a lease agreement with South African-based...

Teenager raped in quarantine

18 hours ago | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES AND ADOLF KAURESWAKOPMUND/WINDHOEKSwakopmund State Hospital driver, 26-year-old Glenn Clifford Leister, has been denied bail by the local magistrate's court after appearing in connection...

Covid-19: Partying Namibians throw caution...

18 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKNamibians have thrown caution to the wind and are failing to adhere to regulations without being policed, after the Covid-19 state of emergency...

Swapo's Wakudumo and Shinduvi face...

18 hours ago | Politics

Kenya KamboweRUNDUThe Swapo Kavango East regional executive committee (REC) passed a motion of no confidence in the region's coordinator Ottilie Shinduvi and the regional mobiliser...

Kauhaie wins the crown

18 hours ago | Youth

Irene-Mari van der Walt Swakopmund • [email protected] the cancellation of the Mr Teen Swakopmund 2020, the Miss Teen Swakopmund 2020 pageant went ahead at...

Declining repo rate supports domestic...

18 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe Bank of Namibia (BoN) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have cut the repo rate several times since both countries announced states...

Government availing shacks humiliating

18 hours ago | Opinion

In January 2019, President Hage Geingob described shacks (corrugated iron homes) as a 'humanitarian crisis'. “We have a crisis where human beings are staying in...

World Tourism Day

18 hours ago | People

Michael ShagandjwaThe country should establish more unique heritage attractions that reflect our country’s background. Create an interesting image with reservations that are worth viewing and...

Load More