NHE invests millions in housing development

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) has invested nearly N.dollars 60 million for the construction of 144 houses in Omuthiya, Ondangwa and Okahao, as part of addressing the housing backlog in the country.

Of the houses, 50 were constructed in Omuthiya, 24 in Ondangwa and 70 in Okahao.

Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, said the government recognises everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing and the provision of basic infrastructure and services, which remain key priorities for government at all levels, including central, regional and local.

Uutoni was speaking during the official handover of the NHE houses at Okahao on Thursday, saying the town is one of the local authorities that do not hesitate to avail land for housing.

‘Decent shelter is a basic necessity of life and we believe that it is justified for citizens, as the sovereign, to expect to have a place they can call their own and to meet their dwelling and survival needs,’ he said.

He ad
ded that in keeping with this reality, and their commitment to the people, housing remains one of their key development priorities as articulated in the national development frameworks such as Vision 2023, national development plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2.

NHE board chairperson, Toska Sem, stated that during the 2023/24 financial year, they are committed to raise enough capital to allow them to build over 1 400 housing units around the country, with a projected investment of over N.dollar 770 million.

Sem indicated that the NHE is mandated to build and finance quality and affordable housing products for Namibian inhabitants.

‘We have intensified our engagements with local authorities and other key stakeholders to foster sound relations that will result in the attainment of our national goals,’ she said.

At the same occasion, the Okahao Town Council also recognised the long service of the town’s mayor, Cornelia Iiyambulua, and deputy mayor, Julia Katoole, by awarding them medals.

Source: The
Namibian Press Agency


Mass hysteria suspected at Amateta Combined School

The Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture is looking into reports of learners fainting and speaking incoherently at Amateta Combined School in the Oshikoto Region’s Onankali circuit.

The director of education in the Oshikoto Region, Alletta Eises told Nampa in an interview on Thursday so far, 18 learners have exhibited the behaviour.

She said they suspect that the learners are exhibiting signs of mass hysteria, but the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture’s special education team will visit the school to investigate.

‘The inspector is on the ground and the matter is under control. No learner has been physically harmed and the directorate is assisting the learners,’ said Eises.

In the latest incident, four learners reportedly collapsed and started rolling around on the ground while at school.

The school’s principal, Martin Namushinga said the incidents started occurring in August but have been most prominent during examinations, mostly affecting Grade 9 learners.

‘Learners have just been collap
sing any time of the day,’ said Namushinga.

Lusia Pwadjomuti, a mother of a Grade 9 learner, said she is shocked by the situation.

‘I do not know what is happening with my daughter, she speaks of a certain woman and a learner in her class,’ said Pwadjomuti.

Similar incidents have been reported at schools elsewhere in the country before.

In 2014, the parents of learners at a combined school in the Omusati Region blamed the principal and a teacher there for what they said were ‘demonic attacks’ at the school.

Acting director of education, Loide Shatiwa however dismissed the parents’ claims, saying mass hysteria is to blame and the children just need counselling.

In 2017, Shikeva Combined School in the Ohangwena Region cancelled classes after 21 learners fell to the floor and screamed during assembly in apparent fits of mass hysteria.

While the exact cause of mass hysteria is unknown, it is believed to be a psychosomatic disorder that is often triggered by stress and anxiety. It can amongst others lead to
fainting, headaches and convulsions.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency


Road conditions hamper distribution of drought relief food in Oshikoto

Oshikoto Regional Council chairperson Samuel Shivute has said they are experiencing challenges in distributing drought relief food as the condition of some roads limits access to certain areas.

Shivute during the regional disaster risk management committee meeting held on Thursday at Omuthiya said they are finding it difficult to get food to the Nehale Lyampingana constituency.

‘We are planning to use 4×4 government vehicles for the roads where the trucks cannot drive,’ he said.

He also indicated that there is a lack of storage space for relief food in the region, noting that the items have not yet been delivered due to the space limitations.

Shivute said that the food basket as part of the drought relief food programme for different households includes tinned fish, a 12.5kg bag of maize meal, and one bottle of cooking oil.

He urged all councillors to conduct a meeting with the respective headmen in their constituency areas to identify people who are still in need of drought relief food.

‘We must engag
e our community members to give their household numbers to be registered to benefit,’ said Shivute.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency


Scorecard completion slated during the 2023/2024 financial year

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has prioritised the completion of the much anticipated fishing industry scorecard during the current financial year.

According to fisheries minister, Derek Klazen, during the Annual Fishing Industry Address (AFIA) in Walvis Bay on Thursday, the ministry has acknowledged that the process has taken too long to be finalised due to its complexities.

The scorecard mechanism was introduced in 2015, in order to evaluate the performance of each right holder, and hence determine the amount of fishing quota to be allocated to each right holder.

‘We want to highlight that the accessibility to fish quotas creates economic means to draw socio-economic gains. Therefore, it is crucial that the process for the allocation of fishing quotas is transparent, equitable and sustainable,’ he said.

Klazen added that there will be another industry consultation on the scorecard finalisation, considering the expansion in operations and socio-economic dynamics of the fishing sector.

he AFIA is aimed to provide an overview of the various fisheries focusing on the state of the stock, its associated economic performance, the performance of aquaculture and inland fisheries and an update regarding the ministry’s mandated task of monitoring, controlling and surveillance of fisheries in Namibia.

The minister also noted that the ministry will, during the 2024/2025 financial year, undertake a study to review the variation of fishing rights criteria, in an exercise that will ensure compliance, fairness and equity among right holders when varying the duration of their fishing rights.

‘It allows the ministry to assess if right holders adhere to the set variation criteria and implement applicable measures, which will inform the continuation or termination of such fishing rights.’

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Confederation of the Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa, stressed that the delay in the finalisation of the scorecard causes a lack of planning for industry players, an issue which h
e adds often contributes to underperformance by right holders.

‘It is very difficult to always start mobilising immediately when a quota is issued, most times in bits and right now, we all know the Total Allowable Catch, but no one knows how much quota to expect. We therefore call upon operationalisation of the scorecard without delay.’

Source: The Namibian Press Agency


Namcor board studies maladministration investigation report

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor)’s board of directors is currently studying an investigation report on the internal maladministration, contributing to the net loss of N.dollars 700 million.

Namcor is currently facing financial hardships in managing its cash flow and stands with a debt of N.dollars 1.9 billion, owed to more than four petroleum suppliers.

Speaking at a media press conference here on Thursday, board chairperson, Jennifer Comalie, said the board appointed an independent consultant in April 2023 to investigate the financial losses the corporation started experiencing in the third quarter of the 2022 financial year and continues to experience, resulting in a request for a government bailout.

Comalie acknowledged the N.dollars 700 million losses are attributed to the breach of internal controls and governance systems, as well as issues related to global market volatility.

‘We needed to understand really where these losses are emanating from and the consultants needed time
to do an analysis of what is really transpiring in the organisation. We are really at that stage now looking at who was involved and in which way they should be held accountable… I can assure you that we are working on that part to make sure that people working with public money and that if there has been a bridging of control we hold people accountable,’ she said.

At the same event, Namcor’s acting managing director, Shiwana Ndeunyema, admitted the corporation did not have internal control to respond to global external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, resulting in the corporation being exposed to financial losses.

‘Over and above external shocks were the significant bridges in internal controls in government systems that exacerbated the situation. We take ownership and full accountability because the situation could have been averted,’ he said.

Without specifying the exact figure of the bailout required, Ndeunyema noted that the company has established a recovery plan aimed at
addressing the working capital deficit, coupled with decisive shareholder capital intervention.

‘We have mapped out a couple of scenarios that say, give us this much, this is what we need to cover the working capital deficit,’ he said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency