Kuugongelwa-Amadhila urges SOEs to be accountable

19 Jun 2013 11:50
WINDHOEK, 19 JUN (NAMPA) ? The Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has urged Board members of State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs) to be accountable to the State and to act in the best interest of Government and its citizens.
She was speaking during the signing ceremony of governance agreements with the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank); the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN); Road Fund Administration (RFA), the Namibia National Reinsurance Corporation (NamibRe) and the Zambezi Water Front Tourism Park (ZWTP) at the ministry on Wednesday. ?SOE boards are also expected to monitor their management and to provide strategic guidance, subject to the objectives set by the respective establishing Acts,? she noted.
Enforcing accountability amongst SOEs has been a major challenge, according to Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
However, although the establishing legislation outlines the duties and functions of SOEs, there has not been a benchmark for Government to monitor and assess the performance of these enterprises to date, which constitute a significant share in the country?s economy.
She said governance agreements aim to fill this important gap. The governance agreements consolidate the existing commitments to work together more closely towards a deeper engagement with the national challenges as set out in the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) and Vision 2030.
Governance agreements lay down high-level principles regarding the good governance to be observed in terms of Section 17 of SOE Governance Act, 2006. It sets out a clear mandate and ultimate responsibility for Board members regarding the State?s expectations in respect of SOEs? scope of business, efficiency and financial performance as well as the achievement of their statutory objectives. These agreements also clarify the Finance Minister?s obligations in relations to any function conferred or imposed by the establishing Acts of such SOEs.
Section 18 of the SOE Governance Act of 2006 requires portfolio ministers to enter into a written performance agreement with the individual Board members of SOEs in relation to honesty in performing his or her duties, to excise a reasonable degree of care and diligence, and avoidance of conflict of interests, just to mention a few.
However, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said preparations are being made in this regard and the signing of the individual performance agreements for Board members will take place very soon.
Meanwhile, various Board members of SOEs who signed the agreements reiterated that the agreement will serve as a management tool to create accountability for targeted results for the benefit of not only their clients, but also for the national economy.
?The time for Board members who do nothing is over. Get involved or ship out,? NamibRe Chairperson Maria Dax said.