Angula’s promise of N$1 750 monthly handouts to cost N$32 billion a year

Ally Angula

Presidential candidate Ally Angula says she will pay every Namibian aged between 18 and 59 a monthly allowance of N$1 750 if elected as head of state in the forthcoming November national elections – a plan which would cost more than N$2,6 billion each month, or N$32 billion annually.

Experts, reacting to the manifesto Angula launched on Tuesday last week and in which she laid out these plans, say Angula’s vision is possible if there is political will.

Economist Omu Kakujaha-Matundu says the independent candidate’s dream is doable.

“That is a brilliant idea and nobody would oppose that. I think what we will differ on is the quantum of the grant,” he says.

According to population figures released by the Namibia Statistics Agency after last year’s national census, Namibia currently has about 1,52 million residents aged between 18 and 59. A monthly allowance of N$1 750 per person in that age range would cost about N$2,6 billion each month, or about N$32 billion annually.

Kakujaha-Matundu says the discussion should be centred around the gap between the rich and the poor and that is where the line should be drawn.

“You can’t have an economy that has a few people who can buy million-dollar cars, while there is a group living in poverty,” he says.

Kakujaha-Matundu says funds could be mobilised from sectors across the economy to yield enough revenue for sustaining the fund.

He adds that the government should do away with exclusive prospecting licences (EPL) and fishing rights.

Economist Nhiinimenwa Erastus says anything is possible with the Namibian economy, depending on the leadership and the team the leader has.

“Namibia has so many mineral resources and a young population with vast land. We have a port, so our economy is not performing at its fullest,” he says, adding that it is all about the strategies and the implementation.

“If you look at all, our national developmental documents are aspiring to create jobs and feed the masses. There is a lot we can expand on, we just need a good leader,” Erastus says

Angula has also promised to give the same amount to orphans under 18 and to widows and widowers.

Earlier this year, the late president Hage Geingob was quoted by the local media saying he hoped to increase the monthly old-age grant and disability grant from N$1 400 to N$2 000, or even N$3 000, per month before he leaves office in March 2025.

The government has indicated that it has fully recognised the dream of the late president for a significant increase in the old age grant, however, they could unfortunately not afford to deliver, since it could cost the government millions of dollars.

In 2002, the proposal for a basic income grant (BIG) in Namibia was made by the Namibian Tax Consortium, a government-appointed commission.

The consortium made the proposal for a BIG in light of the high poverty levels and the unequal distribution of income in Namibia.

It was proposed in 2005 that a monthly cash grant of not less than N$100 should be paid to every Namibian.

Every Namibian would receive such a grant until pension age, from which point onwards they would be eligible for the existing state old-age pension of N$500.

The money of those not in need or not in poverty would be recuperated through adjustments in the tax system.

Furthermore, Angula’s manifesto ‘The New Way’ outlines three plans: to create immediate relief for families, provide money for local businesses and to create immediate jobs.

Angula said she plans to create 500 000 new jobs over the next three years.

She said she wants to ensure that every Namibian household, whether in rural or urban areas, has the opportunity for monthly income.

This, Angula believes, can be achieved by implementing targeted interventions focusing on fostering a culture of self-reliance and innovation, while urgently addressing skill gaps.

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