Administration sector gets 7.8 per cent of budget for effective governance: ShiimiNational Treasury publishes Policy Position Statement on financial ombud system

WINDHOEK: Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise, Iipumbu Shiimi, says the allocation of N.dollars 6.8 billion to the administrative sector for the 2024/25 Financial Year is to support effective governance and efficient administration of public services.

Shiimi, while tabling the National Budget on Wednesday, said the administration sector received 7.8 per cent of the budget allocations.

The budget of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development was increased by 37.6 per cent to N.dollars 2.6 billion.

‘This allocation includes N.dollars 250 million in FY2024/25 and N.dollars 175 million in FY2025/26 for the rollout of prepaid water and electricity meters in various local authorities as a long-term solution to the rising debt with NamPower and NamWater,’ he stated.

The minister said an additional N.dollars 141 million has been allocated for the transformation of the Aus and Lderitz local authorities in order to improve services because of the growing population driven by oil and gas exploration, as well
as green hydrogen activities, in the ||Kharas Region.

Shiimi said the Electoral Commission of Namibia has been allocated N.dollars 438 million in the 2024/25 financial year to ensure smooth and timely voter registration, as well as to undertake the Presidential and National Assembly Elections slated for November this year.

The public safety sector has been allocated N.dollars 15.4 billion and about N.dollars 48 billion over the mid-term expenditure framework and takes up 17.6 per cent of the non-interest budget for the 2024/25 financial year.

An amount of N.dollars 106 million has been allocated to the Anti-Corruption Commission, a 29.8 per cent increase from the previous financial year. According to Shiimi, the increase is to help the ACC improve implementation capacity, particularly in the area of combating anti-money laundering and financial crimes.

‘Despite the recent grey listing by the Financial Action Task Force, we have made significant progress and remain committed to address the outstanding acti
on items for us to be removed from the grey list in the shortest time possible,’ said the minister.

Shiimi presented a N.dollars 100.1 billion budget under the theme ‘Continuing the legacy of His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob by caring for the Namibian child.’

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

National Treasury has published its Policy Position Statement titled, ‘A Simpler, Stronger Financial Sector Ombud System’, which outlines proposed reforms to the ombud system.

The Policy Position Statement follows the publication of a World Bank Diagnostic Study in 2021 titled, ‘South Africa – Financial Ombud System Diagnostic’.

‘The study provided an independent review of South Africa’s financial ombud system and recommended reforms to enhance consumer protection and encourage good quality outcomes in the financial services sector,’ National Treasury said on Thursday.

Prior to the diagnostic study, an earlier discussion document titled, ‘A Known and Trusted Ombud System for All (2017)’, had proposed initial reforms to the ombud system, which were later included in the Financial Sector Regulation (FSR) Act (Act 9 of 2017), as part of the Twin Peaks financial sector regulatory reform.

National Treasury said the publication of the policy position is a necessary step to communicate and publish its Policy Pos
ition Statement and accompanying detailed feedback statement, including an implementation plan.

‘This publication also provides a response to consultation comments, and enables ombud schemes and the Ombud Council to work towards implementing a reformed structure,’ National Treasury said.

Key elements of the proposed reform that National Treasury supports include:

Structural reform of the ombud system, that will reduce the seven ombud schemes to two:

A new, consolidated ombud scheme: National Financial Ombud (NFO) – a new body, independent of industry and government, replacing 6 of the current 7 schemes (all the industry schemes plus the FAIS Ombud).

A Retirement Funds Ombud (RFO) – a renamed and reformed Pension Funds Adjudicator, with a board to underpin its independence and oversee its efficiency and effectiveness. National Treasury considers that it would be too complex a transition for the NFO to absorb the work of the RFO at this stage. However, this is likely to happen in the medium term, once the
NFO has been up and running for a while.

A modified Ombud Council – modifications to the title and appointment of its chief executive and (later) a review of its powers in the light of the simplification of the ombud system.

Improved consistency across the ombud system on visibility and accessibility, eligibility of complainants, processes, powers and enforceability of decisions, and improved coverage to significantly reduce jurisdictional gaps and overlaps

‘Full implementation of the above reforms will require legislative amendments. In the interim, National Treasury notes and welcomes the voluntary amalgamation, in consultation with the Ombud Council, of four of the current industry schemes (Credit, Banking, Long-term Insurance and Short-term Insurance) to form a new, streamlined industry scheme, the National Financial Ombud Scheme South Africa (NFO).

‘The NFO is expected to commence operations on 1 March 2024, after recognition by the Ombud Council. This is an important step towards the broader reforms
outlined in the policy position and will simplify their implementation,’ National Treasury said.

The following documents are available on the website of the National Treasury at

Annexure A: A Simpler, Stronger Financial Sector Ombud System: Policy Position Statement.

Annexure B: A Simpler, Stronger Financial Sector Ombud System: Feedback Statement.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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