Renewed plea for 2% donation

The government has renewed its appeal to everyone who earns an income to donate 2% to drought relief.

22 July 2019 | Disasters

A public notice signed by cabinet secretary George Simataa, dated Thursday last week, makes a “humble appeal to all Namibians to donate up to 2% of their annual basic salary. This request is not only applicable to those who earn a salary but to everyone who earns an income and is willing to donate”.

The money is earmarked for the 2019/20 drought relief programme.

The plea follows the 6 May declaration of the drought as a national disaster by President Hage Geingob.

According to Simataa, it is emphasised that the donation is “voluntary” and must be “made in the spirit of goodwill and patriotism”.

An official form has been created to this end and a Standard Bank account opened by Treasury for the contributions made.

The form, available on the websites of all government agencies and ministries, requires the donor's particulars, including identity number and workplace details, and provides different payment options including single deductions or multiple deductions in equal instalments. Should a donor want to make a direct contribution to the bank account, the details of which are enclosed in Simataa's public notice, both the proof of payment and the consent form must be delivered to the executive director in the prime minister's office, I-Ben Nashandi.

Simataa says this is for compliance with the State Finance Act in terms of donations to the state.

During its 19 March meeting, cabinet had endorsed a one-off deduction of 2% for senior civil servants and public office bearers.

The announcement, when made during May, caused a backlash from political parties, unions and members of the public.

Critics called on the government to rather reduce the size of the cabinet.

“We reject this proposed idea and call upon government to cut its bloated cabinet including State House decorated and over-glorified so-called advisors, and then this country will have enough money to last a decade and get this economy working again (sic),” said National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) secretary-general Joseph Kauandenge at the time.

The newly established Landless People's Movement shared Nudo's sentiments.

“We as LPM feel that the 2% could have been a good initiative. However, the application of the 2% across the board does not augur well.

“All of a sudden we are all treated as equals but when the SME Bank money, the Kora Awards, GIPF looting occurred, fishing quotas and mass housing shambles, all Namibians did not benefit equally,” said its deputy leader, Henny Seibeb.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein bemoaned the response, saying it was a sad indication that we have become a society that has lost its compassion and appreciation of solidarity and the concept of an unequal society.

“It looks like we changed into a materialist one, which has lost that desire to make a valuable contribution to those who do not have enough,” he said.

He also said government realised that in an economy which is under pressure, and where growth has disappeared, tax reform is not the most stable way to generate revenue.

YANNA SMITH

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