Namibia and Russia Enhance Bilateral Relations at Economic Cooperation Meeting

Windhoek – Namibia and Russia have reinforced their bilateral ties through the Namibia-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation held in Windhoek on Friday. Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Russian Federation’s Deputy Prime Minister, Yuri Trutnev, co-chaired the session.
According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasized the strengthening and broadening of cooperation between the two countries via the implementation of various legal agreements.

These agreements cover a spectrum of sectors including higher education, trade, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and city-to-city partnerships. Nandi-Ndaitwah highlighted the importance of these collaborations for both countries. The next session, the 10th Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, is scheduled to be hosted by the Russian Federation in March 2024.


Namfisa Sets Cap on Medical Aid Contribution Increases in Namibia

Windhoek – The Namibia Financial Services Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) has announced a temporary cap on annual contribution increases for medical aid funds, limiting them to a maximum of 9.99 percent. This decision, detailed in a statement released on Friday, comes as a response to escalating medical aid contribution rates and aims to balance member well-being with the sustainability of the industry.

According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Namfisa’s decision follows the registrar’s observations of discrepancies between actual and forecasted solvency figures in medical aid funds over the past three to four years. These variances have often led to adjustments in contribution rates and benefits for members, raising concerns about the funds’ solvency forecasts during the 2024 Rule Amendment Approval process.

Kenneth Matomola, CEO of Namfisa, stated that in light of rising healthcare costs, the authority encourages medical aid funds to seek innovative solutions to lessen financial strains on individuals and families. Matomola emphasized the need for collaborative efforts between medical service providers and administrators to establish a new balance of affordability and sustainability in pricing.

The CEO highlighted the potential of technology in enhancing the efficiency of the medical aid industry. He urged funds and administrators to adopt automation, modernization, and data analysis technologies. These advancements could streamline operations, improve fraud management, and reduce administrative expenses, benefiting both members and service providers.

Namfisa also stressed the importance of transparency and accountability in the sector, advocating for the adoption of the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) coding structure by 2025. This standardized system is expected to improve pricing accuracy, enable detailed trend analysis, enhance fraud detection, and support efforts to reduce over-servicing.

Namfisa has set a deadline of 20 March 2024 for medical aid funds to submit additional contribution increase applications, accompanied by realistic strategies for long-term sustainability.


Zambezi Governor Urges Public to Combat Corruption

Katima Mulilo, Zambezi Region – Zambezi Governor Lawrence Sampofu has called on residents to actively report incidents of corruption to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Speaking during the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day in Katima Mulilo, Sampofu emphasized the importance of combating corruption, especially in the handling of public funds.

According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Governor Sampofu highlighted the misuse of resources meant for public services, noting that funds and goods often end up benefiting individuals rather than the intended community. He pointed out issues such as stalled projects, poor services, and the improper use of tenders designed for community benefit. “Accepting bribes is also a form of corruption,” Sampofu stated, urging those in charge of public resources to fulfill their duties responsibly.

Erna Van Der Merwe, the ACC’s Deputy Director Advocate, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing that no country is immune to the damaging effects of corruption. She underscored the need for widespread commitment to raising awareness and actively fighting corruption at both national and international levels. “Every person plays a vital role in preventing and combating corruption,” Van der Merwe said, adding that everyone ultimately becomes a victim of corruption’s effects.

The event also featured Priscilla Israel, the Director General for Operations at Botswana’s Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime. Israel announced ongoing efforts between Namibia and Botswana to establish a joint Technical Committee. This committee is tasked with developing an implementation plan for operationalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries, aimed at addressing corruption challenges that cross jurisdictions. “We are ready to assist Namibia and other states in reclaiming the proceeds of corruption,” Israel stated, highlighting the advanced stage of the MoU.


San Community Benefits from Gebedsplaas Self Help Project in Omaheke

Otjozohungu, Omaheke Region – The Gebedsplaas San Self Help Project, aimed at uplifting the San community in the Omaheke Region, was officially handed over to the community on Thursday. The project, situated in the Otjombinde Constituency, is an employment initiative sponsored by the Social Security Commission (SSC) and the Omaheke Regional Council, focusing on dairy and welding enterprises to provide job opportunities for the community.

According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Otjombinde Constituency Councillor Wenzel Kavaka, during the handover ceremony, emphasized the project’s positive impact on the San community and the broader Otjozohungu area. “The project not only fosters employment but also shapes the characters of the San people and enhances their self-esteem. The employment it provides is key to strengthening our community’s social fabric, ensuring that everyone feels valued and included,” Kavaka stated.

He also underscored the project’s contribution to education and skills development, which are crucial for building a strong, resilient, and united community. “This handover is a moment to reaffirm our dedication to generating more opportunities, supporting growth, and securing a prosperous future for all members of the San community,” he added.

Milka Mungunda, Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Commission, in a statement delivered on her behalf, highlighted the project as a reflection of the commission’s commitment to improving the lives of Namibians. She pointed out that the commission’s funding was mainly allocated to essential aspects such as skills development and infrastructure.

Since its inception in 2018, the Gebedsplaas San Self Help Project has been supported with funding amounting to N.dollars 2,223,000 from the SSC Development Fund and the Omaheke Regional Council.