Roll-out of voucher system underway: Kuugongelwa-Amadhila

RUNDU: Rolling-out of a voucher system under the coordination of the disaster risk management programme is currently underway in the country, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said this when she motivated the proposed budget allocation of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) totalled at N.dollars 1 billion (N.dollars 1 104 281 000) in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

‘A pilot voucher system was implemented at Okatana village in the Oshana Region in 2023, enabling a transition from in-kind food assistance to a voucher system. Currently, 2 276 beneficiaries are benefitting from the voucher system,’ she said.

She explained that OPM developed the Commodity and Beneficiary Management Information System to enable the digitisation of data of beneficiaries and the issuance of vouchers to beneficiaries.

The vouchers are redeemed at locally contracted retailers, thus beneficiaries collect their food parcels from there.

According to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the transition to
voucher use eases administrative and logistical costs associated with food delivery, storage and distribution.

‘It also minimises the risk of pilferage and waste of drought relief products and also promotes support to the local economies in the different localities,’ she stated.

The prime minister further indicated that against a budget of N.dollars 892 million, as at 28 February 2024, the expenditure under the drought relief programme stood at N.dollars 361.6 million, of which N.dollars 307 million was expended towards food assistance.

The logistics costs she noted, take up N.dollars 33.7 million while the cost of livestock support, in the form of subsidies to participating farmers, was N.dollars 7.2 million.

Some N.dollars 13.8 million was used for water provision.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila further informed the National Assembly that food assistance to vulnerable households is provided to a total of 284 462 households, inclusive of 33 105 households in marginalised communities, which are normally catered fo
r under the welfare programmes implemented by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency