Govt wants N$40m from social security kitty

• Parastatals continue to bankroll state programmes
Government continues to piggyback on parastatals to fund its operations amid an acute shortage of financial resources, much to the dismay of the affected entities.
Mathias Haufiku
Government wants the Social Security Commission (SSC) to avail N$40 million over two years to fund a state-sponsored internship programme, a leaked document has revealed.

SSC insiders said the top ranks of the social protection institution are not happy with the directive as they feel it will have an adverse impact on its finances going forward.

The commission is primarily responsible for providing ordinary workers and their dependents social protection in respect of earnings replacement during maternity leave and sick leave, and after work-related disabilities, injuries, loss of employment and death. In the leaked documents, the labour ministry’s executive director Balbina Pienaar said Cabinet sanctioned the health and labour ministries to join forces and find easy-to-mobilise resources to finance the implementation of internship expansion activities at public health facilities. In her 5 September letter, she said her ministry was directed by Cabinet to engage SSC “to consider availing an additional N$20 million for the 2022//23 financial year and the same amount for 2023/24”.

She added: “The SSC is hereby requested to act on this Cabinet decision, make budgetary provision and support the expansion of internship capacity at public health facilities”.

SSC board chairperson Dr Dawid Uirab referred questions on the matter to the company’s CEO, Milka Mungunda. She was, however, not available for comment yesterday.

Slippery slope

There are fears that Cabinet’s move to seek funding from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) marks the first step toward a slippery slope of economic submission.

It is also understood that Cabinet is in the process of approaching more parastatals, specifically commercial ones, to avail funds to execute state projects.

Not so long ago, government asked SOEs to declare special dividends which were used to fund state activities in 2019.

At the time, then public enterprises minister Leon Jooste wrote to parastatals, asking them to indicate if they would be able to declare a special dividend to government before April 2020. Not many heeded the call.