ECN budget challenges make it difficult to operate: Katjavivi

25 Apr 2019 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 25 APR (NAMPA) - Reductions in non-personnel expenditure are making it challenging for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to carry out its duties, National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi said Wednesday.
While motivating the ECN’s budget allocation of N.dollars 288 million for the 2019/20 financial year in the National Assembly, Katjavivi said the proposed budget was cut by N.dollars 81 million from N.dollars 357 million.
The budget cuts also resulted in capital projects such as the construction of regional offices being halted.
“We need to construct regional offices to conduct voter education because we have no regional presence and this affects their duties,” the commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Theo Mujoro said in an interview with Nampa on Thursday.
The commission over-budgeted for the administration of elections as well as voter and civic education and information dissemination programmes and needs a surplus amount for each.
The ECN will require a total of N.dollars 714 million for this programme.
Similarly, there is a need for N.dollars 38.6 million because the ECN budgeted N.dollars 9.9 million for personnel and N.dollars 153.9 million for non-personnel expenditure, which is supposed to be used for the procurement of goods and other services for the administration of election programme.
This programme will need a total of N.dollars 163.9 million.
Meanwhile, the ECN will spend N.dollars 53 million on voter education within the voter and civic education and information dissemination programme and will require N.dollar 11.9 million because the commission has already budgeted N.dollars 18 million for personnel expenditure and N.dollars 35 million for non-personnel expenditure.
“Voter and civic education is one of the core functions of the ECN and normally precedes all other electoral activities,” Katjavivi motivated in the National Assembly.
Furthermore, under the administration of election programme, the commission will hire helicopters to use in the Kunene and Zambezi regions during the supplementary registration of voters, for voter education and during the polling process because of the geographical nature of these two regions.
About 5 154 registration personnel both locally and in 34 Namibian embassies will be recruited to constitute 804 registration teams for the national elections in November this year.
The ECN has designed a comprehensive voter education and information dissemination campaign aimed at informing all eligible voters about the 2019 elections.
The policy coordination and supervision as well as support services is aimed at ensuring proper financial management along with optimal utilisation of the allocated resources.