About 150 Namibian Students studying various portfolios in three Malaysian Universities are facing starvation after Government delayed clearance of their N$4000 allowance since March this year The Villager has uncovered.
The pending amount which is normally disbursed the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to the students stands at N$600 000.
Some of the students who spoke to The Villager through email have raised alarm saying they are failing to make ends meet and sustain their food needs while the Namibian High Commission in Malaysian has only told them to be patient.
“They said there was an error with the payments that were first made so they only sent money to 9 students and that there had been an error which was supposed to have been corrected” said one student who communicated to The Villager on condition of anonymity.
Another student also told the Villager that the situation is so dire that she has now lost five kilogrammes of weight as she cannot afford to buy meals in that country whose standard of living is very high.
“Nothing is being done even with the countless plights to the media. I lost 5kg since my last medical check-up. Now they say the money will come the first week of September which is wrong. Staff from the Embassy in Malaysia wrote to students last week to say: Please be informed that one of the lists send to the bank for the transfer of funds had an error on it and that delayed the process with a day or two. The allowance should be in all the account on or before Friday (29 August). Exercise your usual patience once more again," she said.
Meanwhile Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi could not give a concrete answer advising the students to remain patient, as the money has been sent.
“The money is already with the embassy, students must understand that transfers take time to go through. It is not intentional that people are starving," he said.
The 150+ students studying at MultiMedia University, Lymkokwing University and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris are supposed to receive N$4000 from the NSFAF for school stationaries and maintenance grant which students have to stretch over four months. The last payment made to students was in March this year, which should have been followed by a July deposit but it never reached the students. When the students enquired with the embassy, they were told that the money would be sent before August, but it still was not.
Struggle of NSFAF
Last year, the NSFAF reported that it was facing difficulties in affectively collecting money which is supposed to be paid back by students who were studying on the NSFAF grant/loans and that the debt has accumulated to over N$400m since its inception in 1997.
The institution blamed the troubles on the incompetence of the recovery policy and it’s under staffed operations. It has then become incapable of collected the N$10m as its mandate demands. The Recovery Policy of the NSFAF Act of 200 has not been implemented as it is failing to track down students.
The NSFAF has provided 1300 Namibian students studying in foreign countries with grants/loans. Over 8000 students in Namibia were also awarded government grants which cost the NSFAF N$262m.
Early this year, the Fund told The Villager that it is going to pull funding from Namibian students studying aviation with the local aviation institutions and that the Department of Aviation in the Ministry of Works and Transport should financially assist the future pilots. The news came at a time when over 10 Namibian students studying aviation at Namibia Aviation Training Academy (NATA) had put their studies on because they had difficulties accessing funds from the NSFAF.