Education to cough up N$14 billion for salaries

Sanet Steenkamp

A hefty N$14 billion of the total budget allocation of N$18,4 billion for the education ministry will cater for teachers’ salaries, executive director Sanet Steenkamp told parliamentarians yesterday.

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi has so far given the ministry the highest ever budget allocation, constituting 21,9% of the national budget.

Steenkamp noted that 14,4% of this will go towards salaries in a year in which teachers will get a 5% increment.

“N$683 million will go towards the 5% increment, N$201 million goes for what we have negotiated with the unions on salaries and other conditions of service. So, it’s already N$844 million,” she said.

Steenkamp reminded lawmakers that of the total 106 000 civil servants, 40 000 stem from the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

“Then what we got, an additional to make up for that billion are transfers to the regions, the 14 decentralised regions where we have an additional N$60 million. So, what remains? It is N$4 billion.”


The ministry will have to allocate funds from the N$4 billion towards construction.

With a budget of N$940 million, the ministry is set to roll out ongoing projects.

“We don’t have a problem executing the development budget. Historically, regions like Omaheke in the past 10 years got a bigger budget than regions like Ohangwena.

“You had to correct historical inequalities in terms of budget allocation in education, with 73% of this development budget spent on Kavango East, Kavango West, Omusati, Ohangwena and Khomas.”

Meanwhile, 13 schools are currently under construction across the country. Of these, five are secondary schools, along with 512 classrooms countrywide. Steenkamp said the highest number of these projects are in Omusati, Ohangwena, as well as Kavango East and West regions. “This is where the needs are right now. So, we need to be fair.

“If you look at the difference between the capital budget from the previous year, it’s a difference of N$264 million, of which N$100 million will go towards our implementation plan, mostly on infrastructure development. We have requested N$6 billion over seven years. We got N$100 million. We will work with that and we will look at what the mid-term budget review holds for us,” Steenkamp said.

In addition, the ministry is also burdened with financing water, sanitation and electricity.

Steenkamp said, currently the ministry’s biggest cost drivers are hostels, which currently house 65 000 pupils.

Hostel catering alone takes the biggest chunk of the ministry’s operational budget, with close to a N$1 billion per annum being dedicated, she said. However, this year the education grant will see an increase, with primary pupils getting N$300 and secondary pupils, N$400.


Steenkamp was, however, forced to cut short her presentation by lawmaker Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, who said Steenkamp sounded as if she was addressing a parliamentary standing committee.

“We are here for an analysis of the budget as presented to us. We are going to start putting our inputs into parliament for the first time to react to that.

“But we need this presentation she is making to be distributed to us so that we can also in the house defend what it is she is trying to give to us. But at the moment, I do not think this is the right platform for her to address us like that,” she said.

In the meantime, Steenkamp has rejected claims that the finance ministry has “thrown money at the problem” by raising the ministry’s fiscal allocation for the 2024/2025 financial year.

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