Commission’s Corporate Communications Manager, Rino Muranda
The Social Security Commission (SSC) Development Fund (DF) meant to create employment has had very little response so far.
About N$379.7m has been put aside for bursaries, loans, and training and employment schemes over the next 5 years.
SSCDF plans to award 303 full bursaries in strategic fields as well as 195 study loans.
About 1 210 trainees in various fields will be assisted to find jobs while the fund also aims to finance approximately 130 employment schemes which will result into the creation of 650 permanent jobs and 1 300 temporary jobs.
The fund, this newspaper has learnt, will spend N$40,1m on bursaries while N$59,1m will be spent on study loans. N$60.5m has been earmarked for training schemes while N$220m will be spent on employment schemes.
The fund recently invited applications from development agencies and registered training organisations to submit proposals in order to facilitate employment and training schemes that will eventually create employment for socio-economically disadvantaged Namibians.
It has, however emerged that the rate of applications from development agencies to the fund have been sluggish.
The Commission’s Corporate Communications Manager, Rino Muranda confirmed this saying, “We have been running the adverts in the media on a back to back basis but the response from the development agencies and training companies has been very slow.” According to him, applications were received but not as much as was anticipated.
“It could be that development agencies are busy with their researches seeing that it has only been two months since we introduced the program,” he said.
The Development Fund M&E Officer Duscan Kasika said they have received a lot of applications for bursaries.
“There have been a lot of applications for bursary and study loans but the same cannot be said for developmental programs,” Kasika said.
He attributed the situation to the application criteria for development agencies which requires that applicants submit comprehensive business plans.
The fact that development agencies require a 10% own contribution in order for them to receive funding was also cited as a possible contributing.
“There are, however, certain projects that will be exempted from this own contribution such as in cases where the project is earmarked for the benefit of marginalised groups,” Kasika said.
Targeted development agencies, according to Muranda, are Non-Governmental Organisations and community based organisations as well as traditional authorities and regional councils. Conservancies, training institutions and trade unions have also been identified as viable developmental partners.
“The development fund will provide the funds, but the development agency will implement the project on behalf of the communities and for their benefits,” Muranda added.
One of the main requirements, Muranda maintained is that in addition to sustainability, the funded projects should have great potential to create jobs.
The selection process will be completed early January and the funds will be disbursed from February to March next year.
SSCDF was established, through section 37 of the Social Security Act of 1994, within the SSC and mandated to carry out various strategic interventions for the good of unemployed Namibians from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Fund was gazetted on 20 September 2010 and its policy was approved by the Board of Commissioners on 18 February 2011, paving was for full implementation. The fund was officially launched on 17 March 2011.
The objective of the fund, according to Rino Muranda, was to conduct training and employment schemes approved by the President for the socio-economically disadvantaged persons.
Proposals in the employment schemes criteria are requested for community infrastructure programs; small rural and urban infrastructure programs; community development programs and labour mobility as well as retraining programs. Proposals are also required for technical innovation programs as well as community based social services.
The SSC is further calling on proposals for training in small and medium scale manufacturing, fashion and beauty businesses, construction, office skills as well as careers in the culinary fields.