15 May 2019 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) has identified and suggested other solutions that could help Government in dealing with the drought situation, saying the current measures are not going to solve the problem.
TUCNA secretary general (SG), Mahongora Kavihuha said at a media briefing on Wednesday that these solutions include Government taking over payment of water bills for the affected farmers, exempting farmers on agricultural needs and prohibiting increases on municipal levies until the rain comes.
This, he added, will assist the affected farming communities across the country not only to access water for their animals but also assist with small scale growing of edible food crops for them and their animals.
Kavihuha also called on Government to provide diesel for the villagers who use boreholes.
He stressed that the current problem is not food, but the shortage of water, which is leading to food shortages, hence the need for the government to intervene in the water supply by NamWater.
The SG further said the government should also exempt value-added tax (VAT) on all farming needs, especially fodder, medicine and other requirements regarding the health and well-being of livestock.
This exemption should also apply to farmers who buy seeds, fertilisers and staple food.
The moratorium on the payment of VAT must extend to all the staple food items consumed by the majority of the marginalised and poor people mostly and hardest hit by the drought, said Kavihuha.
The current measures Government put in place will not work, because the amount set aside for drought relief will be exhausted before the drought ends, hence the need to put up a sustainable long-term plan, he added.
Government recently declared the drought a state of emergency, and allocated nearly N.dollars 573 million to help affected farmers across the country to cope with its effects.