No extra EIG to be paid

By Hilary Mare

THE Ministry of Finance has said that there will be no extra money that will paid out as an Emergency Income Grant (EIG) following the extension of the lockdown period by a further two weeks.

With the N$750 currently being paid out covering on the first 21 days of the lockdown period, spokesperson for the ministry, Tonateni Shidhudhu highlighted that government will turn more to critical areas that have been affected the most.

“No, there will be no additional grant to be given. This grant is a once off payment for covering the first 3 weeks of the lockdown only. Now that the lockdown period is extended, government will monitor the situation and reallocate resources to the most affected critical areas,” Shidhudhu told Confidente.

Confidente understands that as of Monday, 578 863 EIG application had been received and 234 345 were approved. This translates into N$177 million.

“Several potential beneficiaries were put on hold or temporarily rejected and the payment could not be done, pending the verification at the regional level. These are mainly multiple applications from the same cellphone number.  A decision was taken to curb fraudulent applications and to ensure that no qualifying beneficiary is left out.  We are busy engaging the Regional Governors in this regard.

The Ministry will also set up a special desk to assist those who were rejected on the basis of appearing on the tax register. The plan in being worked out and an announcement will be made soon.  For now we encourage people to remain home, not to go to constituency Councillors yet, until the modalities are in place,” Shidhudhu said this week.

In explaining the Emergency Income Grant as 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 periods, Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi said that the grant seeks to provide interim relief for the most vulnerable in our society at household level in all regions of the country adding that this is will help to ensure that a basic standard of living is maintained during the lockdown periods.

“There are various support initiatives in the COVID-19 response package, and the EIG is just one. If you are ruled out of receiving this support, there will be another support package that you can apply for. Please consult the list of packages announced by the Minister of Finance and the Social Security Commission to see what other support is available,” Shiimi said.