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Mixed feelings on new cabinet, ministries

Mon, 23 March 2015 05:36
by Rosalia Martins and Maximus Halwoodi
News Flash

Industry experts and political analyst
have expressed different views on the
latest cabinet announcement and the few
ministries introduced by President Hage
Geingob to steer his administration.
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
Director Graham Hopwood believes the name
changes indicate Government’s special focus
going forward
“The question now is will the Ministry be
able to continue the momentum under Immanuel
Ngatjizeko who has served in various ministries
without really demonstrating a passion for what
he is doing? The name change indicates one of
the priority areas for the Geingob administration
- in that industrialisation is the logical outcome
of the Growth at Home strategy and the ultimate
aim of Vision 2030,” said Hopwood.
He added that the Ministry of Labour and
Social Welfare name change to the Ministry of
Industrial Relations, Labour and Job Creation
is unclear on how the Ministry can create jobs
saying, “It does not fit with protecting workers
rights and developing harmonious relations - the
other parts of the ministry’s mandate.”
Hopwood said the Ministry of Poverty
Alleviation is a strange name because it
sets the Ministry up for failure. “I think the
announcement stresses the emphasis on poverty
alleviation that the new government will have -
but whether the ministry can have an impact in
practice remains to be seen,” noted Hopwood.
Labour analyst, Herbert Jauch said the name
changes for most of the ministries also indicates
the special area of focuses for Dr Geingob in the
next term.
“The employment policy of 2013 could be
the starting point for deliberate job creation in
the years to come. It is indeed achievable to
wipe out poverty. Experiences like those with
the Basic Income Grant (BIG) have shown what
can be achieved. We should aim at eradicating
poverty in Namibia as this is an achievable
goal,” noted Jauch.
The Political view
DTA. McHenry Venani said that the Minister
of Labour, Industrial Relations and Job Creation,
Errki Nghimtina should be given the benefit of
the doubt. “I don’t want to pull anyone down,
but ask me the same question again after 100
days then perhaps by then I would be able to
comment’’.
Commenting on the new ministry Permanent
Secretary in the ministry George Simata said he
has confidence that the new name of the ministry
could bring a bigger scope. “I have worked with
him (Nghimtina) and he is hardworking indeed.
I am sure the President will not chose someone
who is unable to carry out tasks’’.
Political analyst and academic Hoze Riruako
said the minister of labour has ability to turn
around fortunes.
SOEs speak out
Commenting on the creation on the ministry
of State Owned Enterprises, Bisey Uirab CEO
of NamPort said the move will yield the much
needed results.
“In terms of capacity building, it could
provide the opportunity to share skills and
knowledge, Consistent approach towards issues
such as procurement with uniform policies
being applied wherever possible across all
SOEs. It will also provide a forum for heads of
SOEs to interact with each other with a view to
co-ordinated strategic decision-making at high
level” Uirab said.
He added that, “We must ensure that SOEs
are well-governed and that they are optimally
resourced in terms of infrastructure, finance and
human capital,”
Chief Executive Officer of MVA Fund,
Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, said the establishment
of an SOE ministry is not important but the
policies that this ministry or accounting body
will put in place.
“State Owned Enterprises were created
as vehicles that would lead the Government
to industrial development. Each SOE is
purposefully created to deliver various
government sectoral services. Success in
the delivery of these services” said Martins-
Hausiku.
“One would also want to see a clear
performance management framework in place.
A performance contract between the Minister
and the Board and the Board would drive the
institutional performance through the Chief
Executive,” she said.
NBC Director General Albertus Aochamub
also weigh in saying ,“The creation for the
ministry is a good move as it will streamline
service delivery of SOEs on an individual basis,
my expectation from the new ministry is that of
governance issue, to make sure that CEO and
management are doing what they supposed to
do”
Youth Affairs
Executive Chair of the Youth Council of
Namibia, Mandela Kapere said the success of
the newly adjusted Ministry of Sport, Youth
and National Service depends on its ability to
set up national youth development programmes
supported by all other ministries in a form of a
multi-sectorial approach.
“Be it the Ministry of Agriculture or any
other, there should be able to develop youth
development programmes. It is my opinion that
we should assess whether the structure of the
ministry of youth is relevant to the role it should
be playing,” said Kapere.
Kapere added that, “It is difficult to say
whether youth development and sport will still
be under funded until the budget is tabled, only
then will we see if there is a shift towards real
youth development. We need to use a crosscutting
approach.”
Kapere admitted that the stunted growth
in the national sport fraternities is a result of
underdevelopment sport infrastructure.
“We definitely need to invest more
infrastructure and state of the art sports
facilities that can help Namibia to compete on
an international level and we only do this by
seriously investing in our sport,” he said.
The setting up of a national high performance
sports institute that will offer high quality
training and assistance to sport personalities is
long overdue.
“In other countries for instance they have
this institute that help sports men and women
perform at the best of their abilities. It is a highly
professional facility which helps athletes excel
on the international level, “ said Kapere.
He said he is of the opinion that the changes
and adjustments are not cosmetic but deep and
transformational.
“This is a serious indication and strong
policy, I’m 100% sure that these adjustments
will yield results,” he said.
Kapere also welcomed the retention of
minister Jerry Ekandjo and pointed out that
the lack of stability due to constant reshuffling
of ministers has proven a stumbling block to
progress.
“I’m very happy that we have retained Jerry
Ekandjo, it was a wise decision because many of
us have complained in the past about the lack of
stability in the ministry. For example in the past
10 years we have had up to four ministers and it
was difficult to continue with programs that we
have started,” said Kapere.
The educational view
Players in the education sector also expressed
different opinion on the reinvention of the
new high education ministry with the Pro Vice
Chancellor of Unam Professor Lazarus Angula,
saying “I haven’t taken a close look at the
Cabinet responsibilities recently, because I have
been busy but, I hope that he will be able to go
through all the difficult challenges and I hope
they will offer more employment creation. I
know there are so many challenges facing the
nation but hopefully it will all be solved step by
step”.
Commenting on the same issue Professor
Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of the Polytechnic
of Namibia said that the creation of the new
ministry is meant to focus and give special
attention to a very critical sector that is at the
forefront of the capacity building.
“A focus on these elements is necessary to
give meaning to the national intent to resource,
bolster and advance higher education, training
and innovation for the greater benefit of society”
said Tjivikua.
Vice Chancellor for International University
of Management (IUM), Virginia Namwandi
said, “I welcome the idea of the new Ministry
of Higher Education whole heartedly. I believe
the decision to split the Ministry of Education
in two has been done in the best interest of
education in the country. I have full confidence
in the incoming leadership.”
l Additional by Patrick Haingura and
Charmaine Nghatjiheue