More than 30% of population continues to depend on government handouts
More than thirty percent of the total population receives a government grant in one form or another, which translates to approximately 620,000 individuals, not considering the multiplier effect of beneficiaries per household, the President, HE Dr Hage Geingob said.
This naturally presents a long-term challenge, as it will not be sustainable for so many people to depend on government support for their livelihood, he said in his State of the Nation address on Thursday.
“For this reason, the fight against poverty must be responded to using multifaceted strategies, including
engendering job creation through new, complementary engines of growth,” he added.
According to Geingob in recognition of the rising cost of living, the old age social grant has been increased four times, from the initial amount of N$600 in 2015 to the current N$1400.
“This grant has a proven overall positive impact in stemming poverty, among poorer families across our country. Coverage for this grant stands at 97% of beneficiaries in 2023,” he noted.
Currently, the government also administers several other grants in its multipronged approach to arresting poverty. These include Grants to orphans and vulnerable children, which will be increased from N$250 per month to N$350 this year 2023; grants to people with disabilities, which have increased from the initial N$250 to the current N$1,400; to mitigate hunger poverty and reduce transactional costs, the Food Bank was converted into a monthly cash transfer to phase in a Conditional Basic Income Grant with monthly payments of N$600; grants to war veterans amounted to N$871 million per annum and in 2022, the government spent N$104 million on the national school feeding programme, reaching 320,000 learners at primary and secondary schools.
Geingob meanwhile said improving child nutrition is a long-term investment in human capital, which has a triple dividend for the children of today, the adults of tomorrow, and the future generation.
“While our country has made progress in reducing stunting in children, it remains high. It is for this reason that the government remains focused on food and nutritional security,” he said.