BIG resources depleted
Resources for sustaining the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition are now depleted. This has left Otjivero residents faced with the prospects of sliding back to the worst forms of poverty experienced before BIG was introduced, says Bishop Zephamia Kameeta, chairperson of the BIG Coalition.
According to Kameeta, funds raised for the pilot phase between 2008 and 2009 and the BIG Coalition bridging allowance that was secured for 2010 and 2011 are depleted. The coalition is now seeking to secure funds to sustain the programme.
Kameeta also expressed dissatisfaction and is unhappy with government’s level of support towards the proposed Basic Income Grant (BIG), which is minimal.
Namibia has rolled out several social grants, including the old age pension, veterans subventions and social grants for orphans and vulnerable children which have helped to alleviate the plight of some Namibians. BIG is now calling for the same support from government.
He said that BIG is also government’s responsibility.
“Perhaps its necessary to once again remind our government about the poverty that is still experienced by far too many of our citizens. Extensive debates and different viewpoints on the BIG are certainly legitimate, and also a necessary ingredient of any democracy. However, debating after the BIG for several years, its no longer acceptable to just lament about poverty when there are possible ways to redress them,” Kameeta said.
He added that the time for action has come as thousands of people cannot be expected to continue suffering while policy makers cannot make up their minds on what should be done.
About 1000 people living at Otjivero benefited from the initiative.