EIG audit underway

…as Finance minister explains anomalies in funds disbursement

By Hilary Mare

FINANCE minister, Iipumbu Shiimi has revealed that government has enlisted independent audit firm, Deloitte Namibia to audit transactions and systems of funds disbursed under the Emergency Income Grant (EIG).

At the same time, Shiimi further noted that the Auditor General has also commenced with the audit of the EIG.

“We have made these arrangements to ensure that the processes and spending of taxpayers’ money is transparent and beyond reproach,” Shiimi said.

During the budget debate, questions were raised on what appeared to be a gap in the number of beneficiaries relative to the payments made by Treasury to the beneficiaries of the grant.

“With regards to the number of beneficiaries and amounts paid, while the total of N$561.96 million is paid, about N$1.5 million was still not claimed from the bank wallets due to technical aspects of the SIM cards used.

“This is not, in actual fact, an over payment. The total number of paid beneficiaries would rise to 749 280 Namibians once all disbursements made to date are claimed,” explained Shiimi.

Last month, Tonateni Shidhudhu, Chief Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Finance also explained that a large number of applicants had been rejected for failing to meet the standard criteria.

“A large number of applicants were rejected for various reasons that included ID numbers belonging to deceased persons, mismatch of names and ID numbers with official records, names found in NSFAF records of active recipients, social grant records and the taxpayers’ register,” he said.

The majority of the rejected applicants are those with the names not matching with those in the records of the Ministry of Home Affairs, totalling 127 696, followed by those rejected on the basis of appearing on the taxpayers’ register totalling at 124 623 applications.

“Some applications were put on hold because more than two applicants have indicated to receive their grants on the same mobile number. Other applications put on hold are those where one ID number is used in more than one application,” Shidhudhu said at the time.

The Emergency Income Grant was a once-off payment of N$750 in cash per qualifying person on the basis of having lost income or experienced difficult circumstances during the COVID-19 period. The grant sought to provide interim relief for the most vulnerable in society at household level in all regions of the country which was deemed to help to ensure that a basic standard of living is maintained during the lockdown period.