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    Namibian press spotlights impact of gov’t belt-tightening on health sector

    APA-Windhoek (Namibia)

    Top news in the Namibian press on Friday included the effects of austerity measures on the health sector, infighting at procurement board, fishing rights and a pact between the University of Namibia (UNAM) administration and striking workers.

    The Namibian reported that austerity measures announced by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein in October have affected the construction and renovation of eight hospitals and three health centres across the country.

    The daily stressed that the Ministry of Health, whose budget was cut by N$138 million (about US$9.7 million) in the budget review, will not be able to renovate or build new hospitals and health centres.

    The Patriot reported that a rift between Central Procurement Board chairperson Patrick Swartz and his deputy Lischen Ramakutla has paralysed the organisation’s operations.

    According to the paper, the infighting has resulted in the board failing to award a single public tender since it began operations in April 2017. This is said to have negatively affected the public health sector.

    Namibia’s aspiring fishing rights holder have to wait a little bit longer, after the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources delayed the awarding of new fishing rights up to early next year, according to Windhoek Observer.

    The paper quoted Fisheries Minister Bernard Essau as saying the department needed more time to sift through more than 5,000 applications for the 120 fishing rights on offer.

    Another topical story was news that UNAM had finally agreed to pay its employees a six percent salary increase after two weeks of protest.

    The Namibian reported that the university announced in an internal memo that its council had decided to agree to the employees' demands.

    The employees, including lecturers and supervisors, went on strike on October 29, demanding a salary increase backdated to January 2018.


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