"It is a sound principle of finance, and a still sounder principle of government, that those who have the duty of expending the revenue of a country should also be saddled with the responsibility of levying and providing it."
- Wilfrid Laurier
President Hage Geingob in his experience as a political leader should know better than asking workers to donate a part of their salaries to the state. Workers are always looking for a rise and will kick against anything that short pay them!
In case President Hage Geingob didn’t know this, now he does.
Workers Unions in Namibia have resisted with strong vehement the proposal put across by the government of the country requesting citizens to voluntarily donate 2% of their salaries in a one-off contribution for the provision of drought relief.
The workers say providing for citizens in time of crisis is the duty of government and thus, they should not be requested to make payments or contributions from their salaries to drought relieve.
You will recall that President Hage Geingob officially declared a state of emergency in the country on 6 May as a result of the drought which plagued many communities. He said the government has allocated up to N$572.7 million ($39m) to assist the drought-affected communities.
Cabinet ministers then proposed to lead the way and commit their various communities to contribute 2% of their salary for one year. Well, the workers say the cabinet ministers are on their own.
Speaking on the development, the Secretary-General of the National Union of Namibian Workers, Job Muniaro has said that he does not support the proposal put forward by the government.
"I don’t even know how they came to 2%. I am definitely against this proposal. But I will go and listen, and then we can decide," Muniaro said.
Muniaro says Namibians are already struggling to feed their families, as their livelihoods have been battered by the drought.
Teacher’s Union of Namibia (TUN) Secretary General Mahongora Kavihuha said it was absurd for the government to resort to the meager workers’ earnings.
“We have been proposing that the government introduces tax reliefs for water and take on the full payment of water consumption of farmers and their livestock so that farmers only pay the basics,” he said.
Many critics believe the government does not need contribution from workers salaries, especially since international partners including the United States and Russia have promised to offer humanitarian aid.
Africa News reports that Saima Shaanika, the prime minister’s office spokesperson, however, defended the cabinet proposal, saying the funds raised would also be used to create job opportunities for the youth.
How does Shaanika’s statement even add up?
Header Image Credit: Daily Maverick