Foreigners at SOEs under microscope

31 January 2020 | Labour

The ministry of public enterprises is asking CEOs and MDs of public enterprises to submit lists of all expatriates employed at these institutions, as well as their qualifications.

The call was made by the ministry's executive director, Annascy Mwanyangapo. According to her, many foreign nationals occupy strategic positions at public enterprises at the expense of Namibians.

“Our ministry has noted a growing trend of foreign nationals occupying some strategic positions in public enterprises, and also in some cases they tend to be recycled from one public enterprise to another,” she said.

“It is of great concern that foreign expatriates continue to be employed in our enterprises, at times at the expense of Namibians, especially at this stage when Namibia is experiencing high unemployment, but also when our country has been investing in skills development of its people,” said Mwanyangapo.

“We are requesting from your respective offices a list of all positions in your enterprise occupied by foreign nationals with their nationalities, qualifications and tenure of employment and a copy of the enterprise's succession plan.

“You are also urged to ensure that in your institutions' recruitment, priority is given to Namibians who possess the skills and only in exceptional cases where specialised skills are not available within the country can be expatriates be considered.”

Labour expert Herbert Jauch said the request was nothing new.

“The policy is not a new one; it was the policy all along. There is nothing new; unless there were nepotism deals I do not think anything will change. When an appointment is made, the employer has to demonstrate to the ministry of home affairs why the vacancy exists and why an expatriate is required to fill it,” Jauch said.

Tim Parkhouse of the Namibian Employers Federation shared Jauch's views, saying what the ministry of public enterprises was attempting to do was not a bad move.

“The skills shortage is in the technical areas, in top management. Any non-Namibian [brought in] is supposed to have an understudy so that the transfer of skills should be taking place,” Parkhouse said.

He added that the ministry of home affairs was also in a position to provide its sister ministry with information pertaining to the appointment of expatriates in public enterprises.