4th SOE Southern African meeting underway in Swakopmund

18 Nov 2013 19:10pm
SWAKOPMUND, 18 NOV (NAMPA) –Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Tjekero Tweya officially opened the fourth meeting of the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) for Southern Africa here on Monday.
The two-day meeting is attended by experts from 14 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, and is being hosted under the theme, “Towards a Regional Consensus”.
The meeting aims to reach a consensus on the Southern African guidelines on the governance of SOE’s; to work towards developing company guidelines on anti-corruption ethics in SOE’s; and to agree on priorities on the governance of SOEs in the infrastructure sector.
Namibia currently has a total of 86 SOEs to address challenges which are hindering development in the country.
Tweya indicated during the opening ceremony that Namibia will soon be reviewing its entire SOE regime and will also engage the services of renowned consultancies in this sector, which will look into all aspects of SOE governance.
In addition, he mentioned that the Namibian Government will also look into the feasibility of consolidating the profit making SOEs under a single institution to exercise effective oversight and to develop optimal services from SOEs in order to realise the country’s national development plans.
“SOEs provide basic services such as water, electricity, health, sanitation, transportation. They play a critical role in the provision of infrastructure to support private sector development. SOEs are also effective tools to address market failures and remove direct obstacles hindering development,” Tweya stated.
He pointed out that while some SOEs have been doing well, others are still struggling and requiring constant government bailouts, meaning that already limited resources have to be diverted to help them out.
“In certain cases, it is not always a matter of bad governance or mismanagement of national resources, but the complexities of delivering a public good such as water in a socio-economic context in which a majority of citizens do not have jobs. Therefore, we need to find the right mix between the profit idea of the private sector and the service provision idea of SOEs,” the Deputy Minister said.
Tweya further indicated that in Namibia, not all SOEs can and should be profit oriented, because no citizen can be denied a basic human right such as access to water or shelter.
As a result, he said that it is the moral obligation of governments everywhere to thus ensure that such denial of basic needs do not occur.