Poverty eradication ministry sets record straight on unutilised funds

26 Sep 2018 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has disputed the contents of a recent newspaper article which claimed that it had returned over N.dollars 118 million to Treasury as unutilised funds.
In a media statement on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary Esther Lusepani said the ministry has in fact only returned N.dollars 43 774 730.40 due to reasons beyond its control.
“The amount that was reported in the article to have been returned is misleading and damaging to the ministry’s image,” she said.
Explaining the figures, Lusepani stated that the N.dollars 118 519 765.40 that was in the account of the ministry by 31 March 2018 for the year ended 2017/2018, included N.dollars 78 470 044.36 that was committed to the Social Welfare Directorate towards the payment of social grants (old age and disability).
“These funds committed towards the social grants won’t reflect that they have been spent. This is due to the budgetary cycle of Government, and the cycle for the distribution of the social grants and committed funds by end 31 March of the financial year do not reflect by end of the financial year,” she said.
Lusepani explained further that of the N.dollars 43 774 730.40 unutilised funds, N.dollars 26 million was meant for the rollout of the Food Bank to regions outside Khomas, which could not be completed by the end of the financial year.
The remaining N.dollars 17 million of the unutilised funds returned to Treasury was budgeted for expenditure such as the recruitment of new staff members and their remuneration, which could however not materialise due to the freezing of recruitment in the ministries.
She added that the amount was also linked to the establishment of new offices countrywide and procurement of material for those new offices.
“While the ministry recognises that returning of funds is not helping in the tremendous task of eradicating poverty, some factors that led to the return of funds were beyond our control,” Lusepani stated.