By Eliaser Ndeyanale
DEPUTY Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa, says he does not support the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill saying it intends to create parastatals that would become an addition to the already strained State coffers.
Contributing to the debate on the Bill in the National Assembly, Sankwasa cautioned his fellow lawmakers to guard against the destruction of economy of the country, saying it was not necessary for the country to have three institutions doing the same job.
“The bill is going to establish two parastatals that are going to be funded by Government and we have no guarantee two parastatals will not follow the same trend of the parastatals we have to keep bailing out which have increase financial responsibility of the state. These parastatals as much as we think they can be efficient and self-reliant but they are coming as a burden to the state, so therefore, I James Sankwasa don’t support this bill because it erodes on the peculiar economic situation which we are in today,” said Sankwasa.
The Bill which was tabled in the National Assembly last week by Justice Minister Albert Kawana will establish a whistleblowers’ protection office, which would consist of a commissioner, deputy commissioners and other staff members of the office in line with the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill.
Once it is passed into a law, the Bill will also make provision for the establishment of a Whistleblowers’ Protection Advisory Committee, which would consist of the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Justice, who is the chairperson, PS of the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Ombudsman.
The Advisory Committee will further consist of the Director General of the Anti- Corruption Commission, Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force, DG of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service, the Environmental Commissioner, one person appointed by Minister Kawana from a list of persons nominated by a registered employers’ organisation and another person from a list of persons nominated by registered trade unions.
Said Sankwasa: “When we take decisions to increase the public service as it stands now, which erode on the GDP of this country, the salaries are going to be taking more and living less for capital development … that is not the best way to go about it. We have a responsibility towards the citizens of this country, if the economic goes wrong like it is now we are not held responsible we are avoiding that responsibility we are pointing to one person.
He further argued that there is no guarantee that the two parastatals will not follow the same trend of existing parastatals which the Government keeps bailing out, becoming a financial burden.
Elma Dienda of the DTA suggested that members of the advisory committee should go through interviews.
“There is a tendency of hand picking people. I don’t know why we don’t embrace the process of interviewing,” she said further suggesting that these members should also declare their assets before the President endorses them.
“National Assembly should approve the names before the President makes an approval. We don’t want political appointees. It must not be like the ACC which serves no purpose and we don’t have confidence in it,” said Dienda
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