Urban and Rural Development Ministry faces plethora of challenges

08 Apr 2019 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 08 APR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development faces a plethora of challenges which makes it difficult to fulfil its core mandate.
Its mandate includes ensuring appropriate town planning, infrastructural development and land use management.
Impediments affecting the ministry include a structure that does not speak to its mandate; employees having no regard for time; incompetent personnel and a lack of urgency amongst staff.
These were some of the takeaways from a staff meeting addressed by Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga in the capital on Monday.
“I have observed during the past 12 months that most of our staff members do not observe punctuality. You have seen it yourself today… I was standing outside waiting for you,” he said.
According to the minister, the modus operandi at the ministry is such that even when he has to meet external stakeholders, senior officials in the ministry are late.
The minister further said it is even worse when the ministry’s clients send enquiries and it takes months for staff to respond.
The work done by the ministry’s staff is also mediocre as they have adopted a “cut and paste” approach, he said.
Mushelenga then took issue with two divisions in the ministry that he said are incompetent.
He did not reveal the two divisions but indicated that in future, he will be forced to name and shame them if they do not pull up their socks.
During the interactive session between the minister and his staff, employees raised internal issues affecting the ministry’s efficiency.
One such thing is its current structure, which they said does not speak to its core mandate.
“The structure does respond to the needs of the ministry,” Lameck Uyepa, the director of regional government and traditional authorities said.
He added that three years ago, they were directed to revise the ministry’s structure but the proposed changes were overlooked.
Uyepa said the division of planning and land management is severely incapacitated as it is manned by just four permanent staff members.
Had it not been for the five interns currently employed there, it would be nearly impossible for this critical division to execute its duties, considering that they have to attend 57 local authorities and 14 political regions, he said.
Some employees also proposed that a skills audit be conducted.
“We have accountants doing administration and administrators doing accounting,” one of the employees told Mushelenga.
For the 2019/2020 financial year, N.dollars 1.9 billion has been allocated to the ministry.
Of this, N.dollars 1.2 billion goes into operations while only N.dollars 700 million is earmarked for its development budget, the minister revealed.