Trade Barbs Over Pension Hikes
Petros Kuteeue, The Namibian (
(South-West Africa People's Organization) levelled a host of accusations
against the opposition as ruling party lawmakers maintained their hardline
stance against proposals to increase old age pensions on Wednesday.
debate on an opposition motion calling for pensions to be upped to N$550 a
month resumed with no signs compromise from either side of the House.
current pension is N$250 a month ($34 – GAA)
MPs insist there is no money for an increment and claim opposition parties
are simply using the issue to score political points.
those in opposition contend that Government has enough money to provide a
decent social pension for senior citizens and that it is a matter of
getting priorities right.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Gabes Shihepo, asked the mover
of the motion Katuutire Kaura to "honourably" withdraw it,
saying all parties are concerned about fate of the elderly.
the DTA-UDF coalition President: "Over my dead body ... you can
reject it if you so wish".
stressed the need for elderly people to be accorded a better life because
they had worked for it.
he added: "Unfortunately reality dictates otherwise and our elderly
people will have to survive for another year on the small handouts they
receive from the State".
Minister of Labour Rosalia Nghidinwa called for the House to reject the
(opposition parties) are trying to use the old age pension and the State
House [issue] as their weapon of mass destruction to destroy the image of
the Namibian nation," she charged.
her contribution, Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa said she was
disappointed that MPs could come with such a motion at "this
point", as they were the first to be informed about the state of the
country's economy when the Budget was tabled.
urged opposition parties to introduce motions that would contribute to the
socio-economic upliftment of the nation, instead of only "trying to
The CoD's Dr Elizabeth Amukugo supported the motion, saying that paying old age pensions was the Government's constitutional obligation and social responsibility rather than a privilege as purported by some members of the ruling party.