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MPs want more cars …Schlettwein says no

by Kelvin Chiringa

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein, has refused calls by members of parliament to have treasury bankroll the purchase and provision of additional vehicles for their use.

Schlettwein said this is a wanton wastage of financial resources in these economically crippling times.

The minister was responding in parliament to a number of questions and criticism submitted to him by members of the August house soon after the reading of the medium term budget policy statement.

Suggestions for the provision of additional public transport for government offices were made after complaints were made that the few vehicles available were compromising service delivery.

The minister revealed that the car to person ratio was at 1:6 while he discovered that an estimated 45 percent of these vehicles had not been utilised.

“There were too many under-utilised vehicles and therefore a reduction in the number of vehicles can not hamper service delivery,” the minister sternly argued.

In his parliament address, Schlettewein said if concerns of service delivery were the excuse by which ministers wanted cars, then he would not allow for their purchase under these conditions.

“We should stick to what we started,” said the minister in reference to fiscal consolidation, “Excuses for vehicles are used wrongly.”

He urged members of parliament to make-do with the little they have and improvise innovatively rather than crying for new additional things.

“If someone runs out of a tyre and say I couldn’t fix the puncture then it does not make sense. That attitude should change,” he said figuratively.

The minister has been hailed for standing up against wanton wastage and extravagance having earned respect over his intervention in the case between the anti corruption commission and the office of the Attorney General in connection with genocide-lawyers’ payments.

Despite being admonished by the Attorney General to distance from the ACC, Schlettwein told The Villager that he would not stop raising his voice over the issue.

The AG’s hired attorneys’ whooping bill of N$36 million for research and review documents on genocide in order to advise the government on how to approach Germany over the issue, torched a storm with the public which prompted the finance minister to step in. 

It has also emerged in a local daily that one of the lawyers tasked by the AG to handle the genocide saga, Anna Uukelo, had been charging N$11 000 an hour for merely reading genocide-related articles in local newspapers. 

Having been the first to declare his asserts, the minister went on to champion for the cutting of unnecessary expenditure, a move that has been interpreted by critics as daring and brave.