By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernadus Swartbooi last week Tuesday blasted Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta and his deputy Tommy Nambahu for failing to take serious action regarding parastatals that fall under their ministry.
Swartbooi also castigated the Environment Ministry for spending nearly N$24 million on the Kora awards that never materialised.
The firebrand politician did not mince his words during a debate where he chastised his colleagues for coming up with ineffective turnaround strategies for the Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) and the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) saying that they were “not making sense” and “not spoken off.”
Swartbooi made the remarks while contributing to the Consideration Strategies for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism debate in the National Assembly.
He said the approach taken by Shifeta and his second in command was not usual.
He further stated that the NTB needs to be self-regulatory and help tourism to grow because according to him, those in the tourism sector had expressed concern about the viability and desirability of the sector to become self-regulatory as players in that sector that are historically advantaged were making it difficult for previously disadvantaged people to penetrate the industry.
Swartbooi accused Shifeta and Nambahu of overlooking NWR and underestimating the role it plays. “What is very prudent to me as a leader is as follows, in relation to NWR the ministry intends for NWR to purchase as part of strategic plan and operations of other private enterprises that are in distress. Yet, the ministry appears to expect the same NWR to give away through what is called PPPs some of its flagship enterprises. It doesn’t make sense.
“You want this entity of the State to buy enterprises in difficulties and to take those entities to better profitability…it is not spoken off.”
He further questioned Shifeta saying: “By buying an enterprise in its flagship arrears, is there any appropriate strategy you expect this enterprise to be a profitable, expanding and thriving State owned enterprise? Particularly also as highlighted in the document where an insinuation is made that funding that is given to the NWR has to be reduced. It is left on its own to weather the storm but it’s expected to purchase other operational industries. It doesn’t make sense.
“I would have thought that an enterprise of the state as massive as NWR should have been assisted to settle its historic debts and expand itself into a bigger, more profitable enterprise…”
Swartbooi who is also a former Governor of the //Karas region also bashed the ministry’s plan to build new lodges in Warmbad saying NWR has enough lodges in that southern settlement.
“I don’t see in this document a genuine drive, in as much as it’s mentioned, that genuine drive to infrastructural drive in this sector. “It is this document that we are going to spend N$450 million on a conference centre, Honourable Shifeta, I was going to say why can’t you give this money to Country Club to build something to expand (its) capacity.” He said the money was more than needed, adding that the ministry could use less than N$150 million regarding that endeavour.
“I don’t know who is going to construct those conference centres … whether it’s Chinese or Indians or whoever is going to construct them, but I don’t see Namibians even constructing these things,” he added.
Shifeta could not respond to Swartbooi’s questions as some MPs requested for the debate to be postponed to this week.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015