31 Mar 2015 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 31 MAR (NAMPA) The Old Age Pension will be increased to N.dollars 1 000, from a meagre N.dollars 600; the largest increase in the grant since Namibias independence.
President Hage Geingob announced the increase on Tuesday during his first Cabinet meeting in Windhoek.
The announcement came as Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, was heading to Parliament to table the 2015/2016 National Budget at 14h30 on the same day.
During my recent discussions with the Minister of Finance, we were looking at low-hanging fruit, which could help make an immediate impact and could set the tone for our fight against poverty and inequality. There is an opportunity in the upcoming budget for us to increase the Old Age Pension from N.dollars 600 to N.dollars 1 000, he said.
Geingob noted that poverty is generally low in countries where a generous pension exists such as in Brazil, Chile and South Africa and, The psychological impact of such an increase should not be underestimated.
In South Africa, the Old Age Pension is Rand 1 350 for those who are over 75 years of age.
According to World Bank statistics, South Africa has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$ 6,618, while Namibia's GDP per capita stands at US$ 5,693.
So if we are able to increase our Old Age Pension to N.dollars 1 000, we would place ourselves in an advantageous position, given the fact that South Africa has a much larger economy than Namibia, he said.
The announcement comes after years of campaigning for a more substantial increase in the Old Age Pension, with politicians and advocates saying, the social grant is not enough for pensioners to sustain themselves under the constant increase of basic amenities rates. Government in the past increased the Old Age Pension by no more than N.dollars 50.