Grant Hike Unrelated to Election Timing: Shiimi

Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi rubbished claims that the increase in pension grants and tax relief is Swapo’s campaigning strategy to bribe voters.

Shiimi stated that all good things that the government will do will be viewed as a Swapo Campaign strategy. “Yes, it is election period and everything tangible will be viewed as a Swapo campaign strategy, but like the increase has nothing to do with politics. People should know that pension grant has been increasing ever since. We are doing this for the benefit of our people” he said.

Gender ministry recently announced the increase in old age pensions, disability and child disability grants during the month of August and a pay back will be made to the beneficiaries.

“The payments will be back dated as from 1 April and hence will include N$800 for the months of April to July as well as the increased grant of N$1600 totaling a payment of N$2400” reads the Gender ministry’s notice.

Following the announcement, the government was criticized, and the Swapo-led government was accused of increasing the grants to appeal to the beneficiaries. Finance minister has said that the increase has nothing to do with politics.

Shiimi further added that the government also increased the allowances to the beneficiaries of food bank.

“Last year we increased the allowances for pensions, with a hundred dollars and we also increased grants for children living with disabilities from N$250 to N$1500, it is just a move we are taking to take care of our people and not appeal to voters.

“It is an election year and everything good benefiting our people will be criticized and linked to the campaigns and elections. People should be reminded that in 2022 we increased the same grants, but was it election year? Did anyone say that we are traying to please the voters,” he added.

Shiimi further added that, when the ministry announces a new development, it does not mean it will be effective that same day.

“The proposals are passed in parliament and at National Council for scrutiny. On the issue of the tax relief, the tax relief is within the tax laws, and we are doing exactly what the law is saying. The law must be drafted, passed, and approved. So, we cannot omit these stages. We must follow all the processes before making refunds” Shiimi said.