We are not at war - Kamwanyah
29 May 2020 | Economics
Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah has questioned why government continues to divert billions of dollars to the defence ministry, while the country is not under threat.
He argued that more money should instead be pumped into the agriculture and land reform ministry.
Kamwanyah was reacting to the 2020/21 budget, which was tabled on Wednesday by finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi in the National Assembly.
He said with the coronavirus exposing Namibia's food security woes, he expected more money to be pumped into agriculture and land reform, which will result in the country sustaining itself in future, with less reliance on importing basic necessities.
Shiimi tabled a N$72.8 billion budget, which includes N$1.3 billion budgeted for the agriculture and land reform ministry, about N$600 million less than the previously split ministries received last year.
Defence, on the other hand, received a whopping N$6.2 billion, N$300 million more than the previous year.
“A comparison can be made with the allocation to the defence ministry. One would think that based on the lessons learnt from the impact of the coronavirus on the country, with the country not being self-reliant, that the agriculture sector should have received more funding,” Kamwanyah said.
“We could have given a large chunk of the budget to the agriculture ministry, because it will result in food security, rather than spending more money on the defence ministry. We are not at war. We do not have internal or external threats. I am really surprised.”
With government green schemes, especially those in the Kavango regions, facing multiple challenges related to limited resources, Kamwanyah said a reduced budget for a limping sector does not install confidence among agriculture stakeholders.
Namibian Sun recently reported on how 60% of the food in Namibia is imported, particularly from South Africa.