By Hilary Mare
GOVERNMENT will seek to speed up interventions into addressing compliance issues within Public Enterprises after revelations showed failed compliance, Public Enterprise Minister, Leon Jooste, said this week.
Compliance ratings released by Jooste’s ministry on Monday showed that overall compliance with regard to audited financials up to date was a measly 27 percent, compliance with signed government agreements at 20 percent, only 25 percent of performance agreements were signed and business plans approved totalled 48 percent.
“Compliance statistics are also not encouraging, and we will accelerate our interventions to rectify the situation this year. We shall require firm commitments from Boards to reach full compliance levels within specified timeframes and we will see to it that these are captured as key performance indicators in performance agreements,” said Jooste.
As a consequence, the minister noted that, “failure to reach compliance targets may lead to dismissal.”
For 2017/18 alone, Public Enterprises have received a total allocation from the budget of more than N$ 4 billion, whilst the total debt of Public Enterprises is already about N$ 43 billion (which is 25 percent of GDP).
The return on assets of the Public Enterprises portfolio is negative / loss making (more than N$ 150 million per annum).
“Although we believe in paying market-related remuneration packages, the total wage bill which stands at about N$ 6.1 billion is not sustainable at the current level of performance and financial results emanating from Public Enterprises,” Jooste acknowledged.
Going forward, Jooste highlighted that his ministry had finalized new Board recruitment guidelines which will be presented to Cabinet soon.
“These guidelines will introduce a new thorough recruitment process to ensure that the best possible Board members are identified in a transparent process. Our current manual database consisting of around 600 potential Board members will be transferred to an electronic format. In cases where appropriate skills cannot be sourced from our database, advertisements will be placed to provide further opportunity for professional Board members to apply.
“One of the factors we will have to pay particular emphasis on is to ensure that sector specific skilled Board members are appointed to ensure a skills balance between the Board and the Executive. Board self-evaluation guidelines will be developed and implemented for all boards and annual evaluations will be conducted in most cases. The quality of the Board inductions will be evaluated and improved to ensure that Boards are duly equipped to perform their tasks,” he explained.
The public enterprise ministry has also vowed to tighten up on the efforts to curb corruption by conducting special investigations in instances where malpractice is suspected and if corruption is exposed, the investigation reports will be handed over to the ACC for further processing and eventual prosecution if warranted.
“The process to transform the Namibian Public Enterprises will be complicated and even unpleasant at times but we are led by our conviction that every proposal we make and every decision we take will always be in the best interest of the Nation and the respective Public Enterprise rather than the interest of an individual or a group of individuals. The reality is that the successful revival of the Namibian economy will not be possible if the current status quo is maintained. The year 2018 will be recorded as the year where the State as shareholder is transformed from a passive shareholder to a professional active shareholder where governance boundaries will be respected but deliberate and decisive calculated interventions will take place as and when required to protect the interest of the State as the representative of the people of Namibia,” concluded Jooste.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015