New Bill to crack whip on public enterprise boards

19 Nov 2018 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 19 NOV (NAMPA) – A new system to select and appoint members of the boards of public enterprises (PEs) will soon be introduced to make sure such institutions attract the right people.
The new provisions will among others require PEs seeking new board members to advertise such positions in the media and invite members of the public to apply. These are part of review mechanisms the line ministry will implement to boost the performance of PEs.
Similar strategies are also contained in the Public Enterprises Governance Bill currently under review in Parliament, which amongst others proposes that if a board fails to achieve the corporate governance targets, such board may be dismissed.
The Bill makes provision for an elevated level of accountability and there is legal provision for board members to be held personally liable for any form of reckless trading or maladministration.
Public Enterprise Minister, Leon Jooste made these revelations during an address in the National Assembly on the new Bill.
He said due process will be followed after the advertisements, where after a nomination committee will shortlist candidates and an interview panel that includes expert members of the private sector will conduct the interviews.
The new system will be operational in 2019, while both Air Namibia and TransNamib have already followed these guidelines in filling vacancies in their respective boards of directors.
Jooste said his ministry has also established an in-house database of potential board members, and this database will soon be transformed into an electronic e-recruitment system to further enhance effectiveness.
“The size, composition and skills required for each board will always be approached on a case-by-case manner as each PE and the situation it finds itself in will always be different at any given time,” he said.
The minister said board members will be strictly required to declare their interests, and in cases where a potential conflict of interest cannot be managed, the person will be instructed to vacate the seat.
The Bill further seeks to incentivise the remuneration of board members and managers of public enterprises and to make them performance-based, while an active performance management process will be introduced to evaluate board and executive performance.
All public enterprises will be compelled to implement performance management systems and the ministry will monitor performance through its own performance management system.
Jooste said new performance agreements will be aligned to the measurable key performance indicators of the approved integrated strategic business plans and will also include corporate governance targets.
“We foresee a significant improvement in compliance as a result of this provision and I look forward to the day where long overdue audited financial statements and annual reports become a thing of the past,” he said.