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Remove Non-performing SOEs Boards, Says MP

By:Mauricia Koopman
State-owned enterprises have a reputation of mismanagement, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament Elma Dienda has said.
This comes as last week it was reported that State-owned enterprises (SOEs) board members failed to show up for compulsory induction training.
Many of the board members allegedly provided no reason for their absence.
Local media stated that the training was organised by the Public Enterprises Department in the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises.
This resulted in the training being postponed, as only seven showed up out of 38 expected, which resulted in the training being postponed to 25 March.
Dienda said SOEs also have a reputation of misappropriating funds, and that in several high profile cases money has mysteriously gone missing after being invested with other companies.
The PDM politician added that SOEs face a wide range of issues such as liquidation, weak accounting systems and serious corporate governance issues.
Recently, The Villager reported that in 2021, 33 SOEs did not submit their annual reports, and 40 did not do so last year.
According to the Public Enterprise and Governance Act, board of directors are appointed to govern and direct all public enterprises on behalf of the government.
Dienda stressed that the role of board members at SOEs is extremely important, adding that board members not showing up is a disregard of their duties.
“Board members from six SOEs failed to issue an apology or excuse for not attending the training, this is a clear disregard of instructions. Honourable Minister can you please explain what the consequences will be?” Dienda said.
She stated that the non-show is tantamount to neglecting their responsibility.
Hence she asked Shiimi to provide the status of all SOEs in Namibia in terms of corporate governance.
Dienda also asked how will the board members implement decisions if they cannot attend important induction training which are meant to equip them with the much needed information.
“In fact why must they still be kept as board members if they donot show any interest in attending important induction training,” she further questioned.
She said most board members have full permanent jobs and some serve on more than one board, emphasising that they are probably not interested in attending training or they simply do not have the time.
She asked Minister Shiimi when the Ministry will address the issue of appointing already overloaded board members or recycling board members.
“Can you please share with this August House how many board members at all State-owned enterprises in Namibia serve on more than one board and what is the impact thereof their performance?”
Dienda said poor financial performances have been observed at different SOEs with constant bailouts from government.
“What is the current financial performance of all state owned enterprises in Namibia since it seems that board members seem not to be interested in training and capacity building,” Dienda asked Shiimi.

Staff Writer

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