Social grants beneficiaries on the increase

06 May 2018 11:30am
WINDHOEK, 05 MAY (NAMPA) – There has been an overall increase in the number of social grant recipients, which include the Old Age Pension and the Disability Grant beneficiaries, during the last government financial year.
The number of social grants beneficiaries increased to 211 447 during the 2017/18 financial year, from 204 621 recorded during the 2016/17 financial year.
These figures are contained in the budget motivation vote for the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, as presented by Minister Zephania Kameeta last month to Parliament.
In a media statement on Friday, Kameeta said the Old Age Grant beneficiaries increased from 165 376 to 170 386, while the Disability Grant beneficiaries increased from 39 245 to 41 061 during the period under review.
He said the ministry has therefore allocated N.dollars 77 million for the 2018/19 financial year, to facilitate the provision of these services.
The ministry’s budget appropriation for 2018/19 amounts to N.dollars 3 439 013 000; and N.dollars 10 356 453 000 over the 2018/19-2020/21 Medium Term Framework (MTEF).
The budget allocations of the poverty eradication ministry takes into consideration the national call to eradicate poverty in line with the Fifth National Development Plan, Harambee Prosperity Plan and the Implementation Plan of the Blueprint on Wealth Redistribution and Poverty Eradication, said Kameeta.
As a proportion of the allocation, social grants make up 92 per cent of the ministry’s total budget allocation, according to the minister.
The ministry has allocated an amount of N.dollars 3 170 000 000 to social assistance transfers to old age and disability grant beneficiaries.
A further N.dollars 26 227 000 is allocated to the administration of social grants.
Highlighting the progress of the Food Bank programme, Kameeta said the ministry continued with the provision of dry food parcels to identified beneficiaries in the Khomas Region during the 2017/18 financial year, reaching a total of 15 158 households.
This reflects a reduction in the number of beneficiaries, from the 22 354 households reached during the previous financial year.
“The reduction was a result of the streamlining of eligibility criteria for the identification of Food Bank beneficiaries by the ministry, in order to cater for the people who are most affected by hunger poverty,” Kameeta explained.
The ministry also started with the process of rolling out the programme to other regions of the country during the 2017/18 financial year, targeting the Hardap and //Kharas regions based on the refined and streamlined criteria.
The ministry intends to spend N.dollars 52 319 000 on the acquisition of food parcels under the Food Bank programme during the current financial year, while an additional N.dollars 15 241 000 is allocated to the administration of the programme.