24 Jun 2016 11:30am
WINDHOEK, 24 JUN (NAMPA) - Policies pertaining to the remuneration of Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) board members are currently under scrutiny by the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation.
Line Minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi announced the review of the NSFAF board members fees at a media conference in the capital on Thursday.
Recent media reports in The Namibian Newspaper said the NSFAF gives its Board Chairperson Patty Karuaihe-Martin close to N.dollars 10 000 per board meeting.
The reports have it that she claimed another N.dollars 120 000 during a recent official visit to Cuba in September last year, which included N.dollars 40 000 for her travel allowances.
Other board members such as Mbushandje Ntinda, Leezhel van Wyk, Timotheus Angala, Franz Gertze and Olavi Hamwele also claimed a combined amount of N.dollars 120 000 during last year for board meeting fees.
During the media briefing, Kandjii-Murangi stressed that the NSFAF board was tasked in April last year to refine and review their policies which will then be approved by her ministry.
She noted that there is a need towards strengthening the NSFAF to adhere to the guidelines, policies and parameters when dealing with remuneration of its board members, hence the intervention by her ministry.
They have their own policies but the ministry must have a say in them. However they are not being paid outside the set parameters of the board fees in comparison to other State-owned enterprises (SoE), said Kandjii-Murangi.
The NSFAF board members were appointed in January last year. The fund is tasked with providing financial assistance, awarding loans and bursaries to students at tertiary institutions.
NSFAF was initially a bursaries division under the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture but now operates as a fully-fledged independent entity under the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation in May 2013.
Kandjii-Murangi also revealed that the entire institution is currently being reviewed in terms of its categorisation as a SoE to enable collaboration with other ministries when dealing with administrative issues.
All public board members do not earn similar remuneration because they are classified in different tiers but we will also look into the NSFAFs functions and see which category suits it best, she stressed.
The institution is one of the biggest beneficiaries of State funding and received N.dollars 1,2 billion for the 2016/17 financial year from government.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, Alfred van Kent revealed that they will also revisit the operational policies of the NSFAF.
They have their own policies but the issue boils down to consultations, especially when dealing with decentralisation of their operations and that is what we need clarity on, said Van Kent.