Coalition calls on government to roll out basic income grant
The Basic Income Grant Coalition of Namibia calls on government to start pushing for the urgent implementation of the universal basic income grant (BIG) through which a proposed cash payment of N$500 will be paid to people aged 19 to 59 every month.
On 8 September, the Coalition relaunched the universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) Campaign, citing that the grant will have long-term social protection relief to afford Namibians basic human necessities.
The BIG initiative was first piloted in the village of Otjivero in 2008, where each inhabitant received a monthly cash grant of N$100, however, government did not implement the BIG and the coalition failed to ignite a mass campaign.
According to the media spokesperson of the Coalition, Rinaani Musutua, Namibians continue to struggle to survive due to recurrent poverty and inequality exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to massive job losses and salary cuts, especially with in the informal sector on which many poor Namibians depend on as their only source of income.
“The Coalition believes that, without long-term social protection interventions to safeguard livelihoods, the continuous job losses and salary cuts due to shrinking economic activities will intensify poverty and inequality in Namibia. Hence the Coalitions demand for the urgent implementation of the BIG scheme through which all Namibians aged 19–59 could receive a cash payment of N$500 per person per month as a long-term effort to tackle extreme poverty that continues to plague Namibia,” Musutua said.
She explained if implemented as the Coalition wishes, BIG will be a government social protection scheme similar to the old age pension which is guaranteed to all Namibia aged 60 and above regardless of their background, and the once-off N$750 Covid-19 Emergency Income Grant that the government rolled out in March 2020 to cope with the slowdown of the economy.
The BIG Coalition has for the past 15 years campaigned for the implementation of BIG as a way of addressing poverty and create a dignified life for all Namibians.
The Coalition says the government must ensure that all Namibians benefit from the proceeds of the country’s natural resources through the implementation of the BIG scheme.