Higher education budget to be cut by N$1.5 billion

The axe is poised to fall on the Ministry of Higher Education Training and Innovation as its operational budget in this fiscal year is set to be reduced with N$1.5 billion as the Finance Ministry continues on the fiscal consolidation course, The Villager can reliably inform.

The budget reduction represents an approximately 40% cut on the national budget and according to Higher Education Training and Innovation minister, the ministry will have to brace for the tough times faced with a number of projects already in the pipeline. “To respond to this cut, the ministry will be forced to make difficult choices, including stopping some programs,” Itah Kandjii-Murangi said in a press briefing held in the capital.

However, she confirmed the ministry’s dedication to then continued provision of financial aid through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) for the needy students. “Despite the economic hardship faced by government, our ministry through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) is committed to provide financial support to needy students to enable them to continue with their studies at institutions of higher learning,” she told reporters.

GRN has time and again demonstrated its commitment to quality education for Namibia by allocating the biggest chunk of the national budget to the education sector. However, as the tough economic times took a tour worsened by a crippling drought, depleting SACU revenues, and falling commodity prices among other external factors, government has been hard pressed to make huge cuts backs on its spending.

With more than 50 projects having been put on halt in the last fiscal year, it is highly likely that the many construction projects mainly in the vocational education and training sector, which the ministry had arrayed, may have to be frozen.