By Donna Collins
THE status quo of salaries for Government staff members will remain stable in light of the hefty new fiscal budget cuts facing the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), which does not predict staff retrenchments in the foreseeable future but demands top performance delivery.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, during his annual address to Fisheries staff members in Swakopmund last week, rolled out the necessary cost cutting strategies for the year ahead to a fully packed auditorium, urging all departments to start tightening their belts.
“Our new budget is facing a N$29.5 million cut, so I am warning you that there will be no more squandering of Government money, and for those who are not here for the right reasons we will track you down.”
In light of the secure salary predictions, Esau stressed that all staff need to be mindful of the performance agreements they signed in line with Government policy of enhancing service delivery to all citizens. He warned that no slacking on the job will be tolerated in future.
“It is during these times that we will be able to distinguish between innovate managers creative enough to sustain service delivery on a budget, and those who offer excuses for their inability to meet their performance targets.”
“I agree that some of the targets in the performance agreements are resource-linked and may need to be revised, but all performance agreements are still valid, and targets need to be met to adhere to the standards and service delivery of the ministry,” he stressed.
“These budget cuts require that we re-prioritise all our activities and focus mainly on those that produce tangible results, and from now on we have to do more with less.”
Esau said that MFMR will still strive to fulfil its mandate effectively, but the cuts will mean that several of the scheduled activities will not be undertaken due to lack of funds, and they are still looking at which activities these will be.
Esau said the budget cut would also impact the ministry’s research vessels used to determine the total allowable catches (TACs), and that due to the shortage of funds, there would also be a limited budget for fuel. This could hamper the activities of fisheries inspectors to fulfil their duties of monitoring, surveying and policing Namibia’s marine resources, both onshore and offshore.
He also urged all staff involved in research to continue with their good work, claiming that the ministry retains all intellectual property rights to any research work done using its facilities, funds or human resources from the Government.
He thanked the inspectorate, the Fisheries Observer Agency (FOA) and all other staff involved in monitoring, control and surveillance for the critical role they play in safeguarding Namibia’s fishery and marine resources.
“I urge that even during this period of budget cuts, to ensure that the industry continues to receive the 24-hour professional, prompt service required in monitoring activities. Let us avoid corruption at all costs and ensure that we report data and incidences promptly whilst managing out limited resources for the optimum benefit of our country.”
He pointed out that in future other cost cutting measures will be implemented, such as using ministry facilities for meetings instead of hiring premises, communicating via email instead of travelling, office wastage, and use of pool transport to mention some.
“The ministry has been informed that the current budget cuts may be sustained for another two more financial years, so we will have to do more with less, while the blame game of the past, especially in senior management will have to stop,” Esau pointed out.
Furthermore he requested the Namibian Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT) to re-double its efforts to ensure that in 2017 Namibia finally joins the league of major fish consuming countries in the world.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015