Mixed feelings on new cabinet, ministries

March 23, 2015, 9:14am

Mixed feelings on new cabinet, ministries

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 cross-cutting 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.”

Rosalia Martins and Maximus Halwoodi: the Villager

Additional by Patrick Haingura and Charmaine Nghatjiheue