Defence Ministry plays essential role in Nam socio-economic development: Ya Ndakolo

30 Apr 2019 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 30 APR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Defence plays an essential role in Namibia’s socio-economic development agenda and the negative attitude towards its high budget allocation is therefore disappointing, Minister of Defence Penda Ya Ndakolo has said.
The ministry habitually receives one of the biggest portions of the national budget annually. In the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years it received about N.dollars 6 billion, while for 2019/20, it was allocated N.dollars 5.8 billion.
Motivating the budget allocation on Tuesday, Ya Ndakolo said a portion of society sees the ministry as optional, but government officials understand its necessity.
“Namibia needs a Defence Force because it plays very important roles in the socio-economic development agenda of our country by defending the peace and stability we enjoy today, which allows our people to focus their efforts on development activities,” Ya Ndakolo said.
He went on to explain the roles of the ministry and Namibian Defence Force, saying they are constitutional institutions.
“The NDF continues to play a major role in anti-poaching operations aimed at protecting Namibia’s wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos and supports other law enforcement agencies in the maintenance of law and order,” Ya Ndakolo motivated.
During the previous financial years when the economy was doing well, the ministry focused its financial resources on basic defence infrastructure and acquired equipment as well as capabilities.
With the current fiscal challenges, however, he said they are focusing more on protection and the maintenance of the existing properties and equipment along with catering for the welfare and wellbeing of NDF members.
The ministry last year procured Farm Oropoko for N.dollars 45 million which Ya Ndakolo justified by saying they do not have sufficient infrastructure to house the national force as most of the infrastructure was built from prefabricated materials and had become dilapidated.
Furthermore, the ministry will continue to maintain the cost-cutting measures adopted last year to enable them to “navigate the current financial storm”.
“This includes granting of compulsory leave of some categories of NDF members, postponement of recruitment and the conducting of major military exercises, as well as looking at other internal measures to realise savings that will allow the provision of basic services to continue,” Ya Ndakolo said.
Last year, the ministry put soldiers on paid leave due to its inability to feed and house them.