The term “partial listing” now fast becoming a “national anthem” ahead of the sale of MTC shares, finance minister, Calle Schlettwein took time to break down the concept as well as zoom in on how this will benefit the ordinary man on the street.
Responding to The Villager last week at an Old Mutual event, the minister said the issue around partial listing and enhancing the question, what is it for the man on the street, has to do with freeing capital which is otherwise trapped and unused with no returns.
He said such capital should be in a position to create jobs or improve the job quality/decency as well as income and the broadness of inequality in the economy.
“Some of our state owned enterprises, in as much as they are significant entities are equally significant liabilities. Instead of contributing to the economy they are draining the government’s ability to invest.”
“So we believe that private listing or partial listing will improve efficiency. I think it is known that the public sector is good in some issues and not so good in others. Equally the private sector is good in some and bad in others. And if we can get better mix of public private engagement in some of these entities we will improve efficiency so we will get what our ultimate objective, cheaper and more reliable services to the people,” he said.
Managing Director for Business Financial Solutions and renowned private equity enthusiast, Kaunapua Ndilula, also said partial listing will give the ordinary man on the street a golden opportunity to acquire the shares.
“I think if one looks at the balance sheet at a personal level, if I have got an over-exposure in property and I require cash, I would liquidate one of my assets. If you look at investments, you need to make sure that your book is balanced,” said Ndilula.
At the moment, she said, the government’s book is not balanced.
She posited that government does not need to borrow capital if it can liquidate or disinvest in some of the investments.
“I think we are fortunate to have been in this space where for the past 28 years the government of Namibia has pioneered some of the investments but if we really look at where government needs to be and where it is there is an opportunity for government to disinvest some of it, all of it, most probably and have people who specialise in that function increase the share of the cake,” she said.
Sadly, Ndilula noted, Namibians are caught in “myopia and mistrust” when discussing these issues of national interest.
The reason being “Simply because we are not maybe sharing the same view or we are not making enough effort to understand what the reasons are behind certain actions.”
As economic players are not increasing the share of the cake, she added, they continue to be stepping on each other’s toes, crowding each other out and remaining inefficient in the process.
“There are a number of investment areas that government needs to increase investments such as health and education,” said Ndilula.