The Ministry of Finance has distanced itself from helping pay the N$165m that the Ministry of Transport is owing to TransNamib following the meeting between the two ministries The Villager understands.
The news comes after The Villager uncovered that Government owes TransNamib about N$165m incurred in the past six years through rail rehabilitation by the company on behalf of the state which owns the rail infrastructure in the country.
The news is likely to hit TransNamib hard as their net loss stands at N$67m for the year ended 31 March 2013.
Minister of Finance (MoF), Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said should the Ministry of Works approach the Ministry of Finance for the N$165m, the logistics have to be followed but said it’s unlikely that MoF will give the money.
“I am not aware of the request but even if they ask it’s going to be difficult because the Ministry of Finance does not approve the expenditure. It has to go through the cabinet but I cannot really comment ahead of the process because at this time I don’t know what is the Ministry of Works is planning to do. Although there are reservation it’s going to be difficult.” she said.
The Government has also been inadequately funding the companying resulting in about 50% of the country’s rail way network being unusable and The Villager understands that Ministry of Finance asked the Ministry of Works and Transport to explain why they owe TransNamib.
“I can’t confirm that because it’s not a misuse of money but it’s a question of someone saying that he/she is owed money. So the Ministry of Finance will only come in if there is a misuse of money but in this case it’s up to the Ministry of Transport to deal with that because they are the mother body of TransNamib and they don’t report to the Ministry of Finance but rather to cabinet. The State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Act clearly states that any Ministry must be have the supervisor mandate of any SOEs falling under their ministries,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Investigations have also shown that Government is still to convert the N$265m paid to a Chinese company that supplied obsolete locomotives to TransNamib into equity in order to improve the company’s balance sheet. The Minister of Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtina said the attention should be diverted away from the N$165m and rather focus on the turnaround strategy.
“For now we must wait for the turnaround strategy and the way forward so that we can realize what is wrong and what we can fix. Wait until I get the report so that I can study it and see what we can do for TransNamib. This is the only way that you can write an objective story,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Ericah Shafudah referred all questions to the Ministry of Transport.
“I acknowledge, with thanks, receipt of your question and would like to advise that you get in touch with the PS of the Ministry of Works and Transport. The reason being that TransNamib is an SOE whose oversight is by that Ministry,” she said.
Meanwhile the Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Peter Mwatile refused to comment saying, “I have already said it a long time ago that I don’t speak to The Villager. If you can please excuse me.”
Efforts to get comments from TransNamib to shed more light was fruitless as the Chief Corporate Communications Officer Ailly Hangula-Paulino also chose to speak about the turnaround strategy.
“I would like to advise that the information you requested would be made available to you at a later stage. This is due to the fact that the necessary process of finalising the Turn-Around plan is still on-going. TransNamib will only be in a position to share the details once the whole process has been completed and approved by the Shareholder Ministry.
We view the Turn-Around Plan as important information to all stakeholders, including the public. As part of the media relations engagement, at the appropriate time a comprehensive briefing will be done in this regard,” she said.