THE Social Security Commission (SSC) and the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) announced financial aid to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social Security Commission spokesperson Unomengi Kauapirura. Photo: Nampa

This was announced last Friday at Swakopmund during the Erongo governor’s weekly Covid-19 update.

Unomengi Kauapirura, head of communications at the SSC, said the commission will provide 6 300 employees whose income has been affected by the pandemic with financial relief, while 850 affected employers will receive subsidies at the end of the month.

Simeon Kahona, Erongo DBN portfolio representative said the bank extended its payment holiday to clients from three to six months, with relief valued at N$100 million.

He said the N$500-million government initiative for all businesses affected by the pandemic, will roll out next month.

Kauapirura said the SSC’s stimulus package is worth N$750 million, and the first phase, involving the 6 300 employees and 850 businesses, is worth N$44 million.

“We apologise for having taken so long before payouts. It was a long process because it is a new system, but I am happy to announce we will start paying out now,” she said.

Employees who qualify for the commission’s help are those who earn N$50 000 annually, and whose salaries had been cut due to the pandemic’s economic impact.

Employers will receive a wage bill subsidy on condition they did not retrench during April, May and June, while employees will get a monthly payout equal to 50% of their salaries for a period of three months on condition they earn less than N$50 000 per annum.

Kauapirura said 13 300 employees had registered for assistance at the SSC, and 6 300 were verified and can expect financial assistance today.

The applications of the rest will be verified and assisted soon.

The value of the assistance to the 6 300 employees is about N$24 million. Kauapirura said of the 1 032 employers who applied for assistance from the SSC, 850 will be paid by the end of June, and the value of assistance to this group is approximately N$19 million.

“We want to make sure everyone gets paid,” she said, adding that hard copies will be distributed to offices countrywide for those who did not apply through their employers, because businesses had already closed by the time the virus reached Namibia.

The tourism industry was the hardest hit by the coronavirus impact due to global travel restrictions, with many businesses closing down. On the other hand, Kahona said only existing DBN clients’ payment holiday was extended from three to six months – until the end of November.

This relief measure is worth about N$100 million and affects mostly those in the tourism and services sectors.

Kahona said the rollout for working capital assistance for businesses affected by the pandemic is also expected to start next month.

“Through this government initiative, which we are proud to be part of, it is hoped we will revive businesses with capital to keep them afloat during the pandemic,” he said.

“Businesses will be considered if they had existed before the pandemic, and if their downfall was caused by the pandemic.”

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