Government will pay a once-off N$750 to people who lost their jobs due the COVID-19 lockdown. PHOTO: Contributed

The Ministry of Finance will be paying a once-off N$750 per person to people who lost their jobs as a result of the current lockdown announced to curb the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

This was announced by the Minister of Finance Iipumbu Shiimi on Wednesday when he introduced a N$8.1 billion economic stimulus package to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on households and businesses.

On household, Shiimi explained that assistance will help people to cope with reduced income, increased health related spending and other hardships due to the virus outbreak. 

“An emergency income grant, to support those employees who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and its fallout. This is a once-off payment of N$750 to people who have lost their jobs, either in the informal or formal sector, essentially to stave off the vulnerabilities which arise,” said Shiimi.

“Applications may be made by Namibians citizens between 18 and 60 years of age who have lost their jobs and not receiving any other social grants. 

“Payment will be made by government in collaboration with the Social Security Commission and other financial sector and information communication technology partners within seven (7) days, utilising the banking sector’s ATM infrastructure.”

Shiimi added the total amount for this measure is costed at a maximum of N$562 million, based on the national poverty line of about N$250.00 per person per week.

The ministry also introduced a tax-back loan scheme for tax registered and tax paying (PAYE) employees and self-employed individual persons who have lost income or part thereof or experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 outbreak. 

This, he added, will provide breathing room for cashflow-constrained individuals who are

taxpayers, they can borrow an amount equal to 1/12th of their tax payment in the previous tax year, to be repaid after one year. 

The interest rate will be concessional, below prime, on the back of a Government guarantee. 

The total guarantee is capped at the maximum of N$1.1 billion, based on the PAYE tax register and the potential loan size. 

”The government, in collaboration with the banking institutions may institute statutory and administrative measures to enhance compliance with loan conditions.”

According to him, the government will ensure that water points are kept open without a need for water cards during lockdowns, through NamWater and local authorities that will subsidize this critical service. 

For the first lockdown, this amount is estimated at about N$10 million, Shiimi indicated.

These measures take into consideration monetary policy and banking sector measures announced by the Bank of Namibia and the replication of such related measures in the non-banking financial sector. 

“They take effect immediately and their implementation will be accelerated in the coming days and weeks.”

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