Shiimi urged to write off pre-independence municipal debt – The Namibian
Henny Seibeb, vice president of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), suggested Tuesday to the National Assembly that Iipumbu Schiimi, minister of finance, write off pre-independence municipal loans in accordance with a Cabinet decision.
Calle Schlettwein was the permanent secretary of finance at the time. He stated that the Cabinet resolved in December 2002 to allow the ministry to write off the balances of loans granted to municipalities prior to independence.
“In view of the above-mentioned resolution, the treasury has suspended any further interest on all pre-independence municipal loans on 31 March 2003,” Schlettwein wrote.
However, the minister of finance at the time, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, in a letter dated 17 January 2005, addressed to the minister of regional, local government and housing, Joel Kaapanda, said the government owes municipalities for services and in some cases land.
“In light of this, the Ministry of Finance cannot agree to write off those loans without receiving anything in return from those municipalities,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in the letter.
She suggested that local authorities who are unable or unwilling to settle their debts with government be allowed to have their municipal debts written off.
“ . . . or assets acquired from them by the government or donate assets to be mutually agreed upon by the government as compensation for the write-off,” she wrote.
Seibeb had asked Shiimi this week when the loans would be written off in accordance to the December 2002 Cabinet commitment.
He also wanted to know about the obstacles in implementing the resolution.
“What is the total amount of debt of all municipalities in Namibia as far as pre-independence debt is concerned?” Seibeb asked.
According to Seibeb, the executive director of finance, Titus Ndove, issued a letter to the chief executive officer of the Mariental municipality in June this year, demanding that the municipality settle the amount of N$5 990 405,21, which is the total amount of interest and capital by the end of June 2022.
Seibeb will likely respond to Shiimi on 29 Sept.