Simataa takes aim at Venaani, defends ministerial perks

13 Jun 2019 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 13 JUN (NAMPA) – Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa has taken a swipe at Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani for calling on the government to cut ministerial perks like three vehicles and unlimited fuel use.
Venaani submitted recently that reducing ministers’ cars from three to one by selling off two cars, could generate revenue for the government, which it could then redirect to pressing national needs.
“As members of the executive, we are not given vehicle allowances. We are given official cars that we need to use for official and private (activities). But when we use it for private activities, we need to use it in a discreet manner. You should not go overboard,” Simataa said.
He charged that Venaani is out of tune as far as government’s consolidation efforts are concerned.
The minister also dismissed Venaani’s call for government to reduce motorcades assigned to the prime minister, vice president and former presidents.
He said the motorcades and their escorts are standard security protocol for specific office bearers, which cannot be touched.
In some instances, the deputy prime minister goes around without an escort, he argued.
“But the way it was put [by Venaani] was as if it is the entire Cabinet. It isn’t. It’s only those categories,” Simataa said.
Additionally, he said, government has embarked on serious budget cuts which did not spare ministers’ benefits.
The minister pointed out that even their entertainment allowance was revoked during the previous financial year.
He then dismissed claims by Venaani that when they travel with their spouses on foreign missions, they do so at the expense of taxpayers.
“Whenever I take my wife along, and it is not a crime to take my wife along, I pay for her out of my pocket. So, people should stop comparing Namibia to other countries,” he said.
Simataa urged media institutions to take into consideration how certain policies or government measures were initiated, particularly budget cuts.
“I know they are the official opposition but they must hold us accountable based on an accurate assessment of the situation,” he advised.