Government has to date availed N$1.3 billion into the Individual Veterans Projects (IVP) catering for 7289 applications from the financial year 2010/11 investigations by The Villager have shown.
This is despite the Minister of Veterans Affairs Nickey Iyambo acknowledging that his ministry still struggles to provide technical support to the beneficiaries to drive their businesses except in the fields of agriculture and animal husbandry.
IVPs are funded according to budget provisions of the ministry every financial year.
“Currently the ministry has specialists with sound knowledge in farming, specifically crop and cattle farming who can help first time farmers manage their projects, but this does not limit veterans from seeking extra help from specialists outside our ministry,” said Iyambo.
Iyambo also told The Villager that the ministry has sought services of senior Community liaison officers who are based in all regions of the country to look for some of the liberation war veterans who might not know about the Government’s initiative to better their plight.
He also added that the ministry also has specialists in regions to help monitor progress on veterans’ projects.
“There are some children who have both their parents and they are both employed, and those who have both unemployed parents, meaning you will first help the ones with parents but unemployed. As the ministry we have to look at the social condition of the child and decide based on that,” he said. “We cannot afford to pay for everyone who have applied, but based on the funds we have we will help those who we see that they are in need,” said Iyambo.
He also gave a stern warning to veterans to be careful of crooks who are approaching them to help them get their projects funded fast.
“People have been warned not to be involved in any unlawful practices, if they do it, it is not any of our business,” Iyambo said.
He also revealed that the ministry has been dispatching teams to the regions on an annual basis to make sure that the government bankrolled projects provides opportunities to all the intended beneficiaries.
“Unless maybe the old ones have applied too late, then they will follow the order of applications. I however cannot confirm the percentage of projects that are successfully running, because I am still waiting for the annual report from those who are collecting information from projects countrywide,” he said.
He also refuted allegations of some veterans abusing their grants saying, “At the beginning people thought we are giving money in cash for projects, this did not happen and it does not work like that, for as we pay the services rendered by services providers after clear assessment has been done on proposed projects,” Iyambo explained.
While the Ministry is convinced that they are making frantic efforts to cater for all veterans there have been isolated cases in the media in the past few months where some senior war veterans have claimed that they are languishing in poverty with very minimum support from the ministry.
One such case was revealed by a weekly tabloid newspaper where a senior veteran was portrayed as living under extreme conditions.
Meanwhile Iyambo also added that the ministry also has an Education and Training Grant for children whose parents are veterans.
Iyambo said that even though the current veterans act does not make provision for children whose parents are still living and they are veterans, the act is put in place for the welfare of people that are in need.
Hedwig Ndokosho, one of the Education Training Grant beneficiaries of the Ministry of Veteran Affairs said that the ministry covered her tertiary education after she applied for it.
She said that the funding did not cover the full amount of money needed for books and accommodation, but it only covers 50% of her needs. Ndokosho added that at the time she got the funding there was no age restriction for one to get the funding, but part of their policy is that they don’t give funding to post-graduates students.
Sadrag Kalipia beneficiary of the ministry’s initiative also told The Villager that he has since started a thriving piggery project.
At the moment his project for crushing Mahangu is not yet established because he is still waiting for local authority to provide him with a plot.
He said that there are no big challenges yet, since he just started his pig project in 2014.
Kalipi added that apart from expensive food for pigs, his project is growing well. The pig project is currently having 14 pigs, which he intends to generate income from by selling pork. Apart from the two projects he is having, he is also got funds to buy a vehicle for smooth operation of his projects.