Govt accused of misleading lawmakers on Fima regulations

Elma Dienda

The Financial Institutions and Markets Act (Fima) has once again caused friction, with lawmaker Elma Dienda accusing finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi of attempting to mislead the National Assembly into approving the law.

This was during Thursday’s debate which emanated from a committee report recommending that the Fima regulations be tabled in parliament for approval.

Agriculture, water and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein and justice minister Yvonne Dausab did not agree that the regulations should be tabled. They suggested that amendments be made to the act.

Dienda accused Shiimi of “promising” to table the Fima regulations to deter the parliamentarians from amending it at the bill level.

Shiimi yesterday did not comment on Dienda’s remarks but told The Namibian the technical committee will advise on the way forward with Fima.

Last year, Shiimi, appointed a 36-member committee to consult the broader public on the Fima regulations, specifically the regulation on pension preservation.

“The task force is currently finalising its work. The public will be informed on the way forward once we have considered the recommendations of the task force,” Shiimi said.

Lipumbu Shiimi


Schlettwein said the regulations do not form part of the legislation process.

“I don’t believe we can do something we are not mandated to and we can’t support these recommendations.”

He said the committee should have looked at how the act could be amended and made recommendations to the house to consider those amendments.

“Instead of moving into a territory which is not mandated, which is to abolish regulation. No regulation can go above the law we’ve passed in this house. The committee took the wrong approach. Regulations is not our function, it’s the function of the executive,” he said.

Swapo backbencher Phillip Katamelo stressed that the recommendations were not made by parliamentarians.

Committee member Natangwe Iithete said during consultations with stakeholders it was requested that Shiimi should table the regulations referred to in the act in parliament before they are implemented.

“Regulations must be brought here and we just approve on behalf of the Namibian people. Regulations must be done here.”

Agreeing with Schlettwein, Dausab said regulation approval will burden the National Assembly with more paperwork.

National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi said the logical thing to do is to defer the amendment back to the committee to consult further with the minister and the stakeholders.

In bill form, Fima caused disagreements due to the pension preservation clause, which mandates that members retain 75% of their minimum withdrawal benefit until they reach 55 years of age.

This has been a bone of contention with the public since consultations started.

Fima replaced the outdated Pension Fund Act of 1956 and the new legislation was supposed to come into effect on 1 October 2022, but due to the public outcry, the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) announced the law’s enforcement would be postponed.

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