Defence ministry needs N$80 000 per recruit

ATTENTION … NDF says it takes a lot of time and resources to train new recruits into the army.
. . . 2 900 trained in last two intakes

The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs spends N$80 000 on every soldier it recruits and trains.

Some 1 264 soldiers out of 1 300 graduated last August, while another 1 600 are currently in training.

This was revealed by defence minister Frans Kapofi in the National Assembly yesterday while motivating his N$6,7 billion budget allocation.

This is higher than the previous N$6,3 billion allocation.

“The recruitment of soldiers is a very expensive undertaking,” the minister said.

On average, the ministry spent N$101 million on the 1 264 soldiers, and N$128 million on the 1 600 in training.

“The selection process is intensive, laborious and costly as it involves the deployment of recruitment officers in every region, conducting both physical and medical tests, verifying criminal records with the police, as well as verifying qualifications,” Kapofi dsid.

He said when recruits report to training centres, they are issued uniforms, bedding, daily meals, and basic amenities, such as toiletries, during the first three months.

“Recruits are also entitled to monthly allowances throughout their period of training,” he said.

Other expenses include transportation, training aids and tents.

“On average, the ministry spends an amount of N$80 000 per recruit per intake,” Kapofi said.

For the training of the existing staff complement, the ministry spent N$68 million in two financial years.

“Training is therefore the preoccupation of the Namibian Defence Force all year round. During the last two financial years, the ministry spent N$68 million on training,” he said.

After the budget statement in February, analysts continued to criticise the ministry’s N$6-billion chunk.

Economist Angelique Bock says the defence budget cannot be excluded.

“The problem with the defence ministry is if you take away that budget allocation, the defence ministry decides we have to let go of certain people, and then there would be unemployment,” she says.

Meanwhile, the ministry spent almost N$111 million on the rehabilitation and maintenance of its head office in Windhoek last year.

The ministry budgeted N$181 million for the development, rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure.

“The major consumer of this allocation was the ministry’s head office, which took up N$110 million.

“Other costs went to the rehabilitation and renovation of kitchen facilities and other installations at some military bases,” Kapofi said.

The ministry also spent N$11,5 million on five meetings related to the work of the inter-state defence and security committee in Windhoek.

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