By Confidente Reporter
IN a bid to have greater control of the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) financial affairs the parastatal will no longer fall under the Ministry of Higher Education but will solely operate under the Ministry of Finance.
Confidente is informed that a Cabinet resolution was recently passed whereby all State financial institutions will fall under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Finance.
Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, Monday confirmed that NSFAF will soon fall solely under his ministry.
“The matter is still under deliberation but a principal decision was made by Cabinet that all financial institutions should now fall under the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Public Enterprises is currently crafting and amending some of the laws,” Schlettwein said.
The Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste said it was still premature for him to comment on the matter now. “This is premature – I will be able to provide more feedback on this item in about a week’s time,” he said.
NSFAF has lately been in the eye of a media storm with the parastatal accused of having lost data files that contain information on loan beneficiaries while moving to their new offices. The parastatal has also been struggling with tracing a majority of its now employed study loan recipients with N$400 million said to be still outstanding.
In an interview with Confidente recently founder and architect of NSFAF says reports about the financial troubles compounding the institution are historical; prior to Act 26 of 2000 which founded the NSFAF in 2013.
Retired Director of Education Ambrosius Agapitus said it was “misleading and irresponsible” to paint a negative picture on an institution which was barely three years old for wrong practices mentioned in the Auditor General’s report of 2009 and 2010.
The damning newspaper reports relied on a backdated NSFAF audit report showing that the institution failed to account for more than N$2,7 billion between 2009 and 2010.
NSFAF was established in January 1997 to provide financial assistance to students at approved institutions of higher education. A decision was taken to establish an independent secretariat with effect since May 13 2013. As a result and by implication, the secretariat assumed the responsibility over all the loans advanced and commitments that were approved and awarded in prior by the Ministry.
The fund disbursed close to over 90 percent of all money budgeted for 2013/14 and 2014/15 to both continuing students and new awardees.
NSFAF is one of the biggest beneficiaries of state subsidies in what appears to be a bid by the Government to help more students who cannot afford to pay for their studies.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015