Disability affairs budget slashed by 40 per cent

24 Mar 2018 19:30pm
TSUMEB, 24 MAR (NAMPA) – Deputy Minister for Disability Affairs Alexia Manombe-Ncube has attributed her division’s 40 per cent budget cut for the 2018/19 financial year (FY) to a lack of understanding of needs and necessities of disabled people.
The budget for disability affairs was slashed from N.dollars 32 million in 2017/18 to N.dollars 19 million for the current FY.
Speaking to Nampa on issues affecting her ministry on Thursday, Manombe-Ncube said the greater portion of their budget goes into wages.
“We have people who are not receptive, who don’t understand the seriousness and complexity of disability,” said the minister, before acknowledging Government’s precarious financial standing.
Of the N.dollars 19 million, about N.dollars 9 million goes to the National Disability Council of Namibia.
“This means we are only left with N.dollars 10 million. From that, around N.dollars 8 million goes into salaries. What can you do with N.dollars 2 million?” she asked.
Manombe-Ncube said the division was on the receiving end of a lack of understanding from those handling the public purse.
“Most of our people, particularly those in power of the finance are the ones who don’t understand the complexities we are going through,” said Manombe-Ncube.
According to her, “disabled Namibia queues up at the doorsteps of my office every day, but without the financial backing, there is little we can do”.
The disability affairs’ budget is lumped with that of the Office of the Vice President.
“The money we get is mostly for paying the personnel, but how to pay the personnel? To do what if you don’t have a budget for activities? That is what I fail to understand,” lamented Manombe-Ncube.
She argued that as much as there is a need to cut cost and unnecessary expenditure, this does not override the needs of disabled Namibians.
She said disability affairs ought to be taken just as seriously as education, gender and the integration of former marginalised communities into the mainstream economy.
“I am urging the whole Government to have an understanding that disability is cross-cutting and all of us have to hold hands and move with this issue,” Manombe-Ncube pleaded.