NHE managers ring crisis bells

06 April 2021 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

The management of the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) has warned that the housing entity may face collapse if governance issues are not addressed.

From the lack of access to land to no audited financials being issued and alleged governance flaws, managers at NHE said the housing parastatal is facing a bleak future if the current challenges it faces are not addressed swiftly.

In a letter to the NHE board and urban and rural development minister Erastus Utoni, the managers found fault with the lack of financial reports as well as the fact that it had recently been made to pay a fine by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

“In the not-so-distant future, NHE may not be able to pay salaries, let alone meet its financial obligations. NHE has not issued financial and annual reports for the past five years, in contravention of the laws which require the line minister to table NHE annual financial reports six months after financial end in the Parliament,” the managers said.

“Clearly the NHE remains largely non-compliant with many laws that have a bearing on the business. NHE cannot borrow money due to not having sound financials. More so, NHE has recently been fined an amount of N$2 million by the FIC, while Deloitte has given indication of not being interested in providing audit services to the NHE,” the managers said.

Left out

The managers said the NHE was struggling to get land on which to build houses.

“The management of the NHE has been observing a trend whereby the NHE struggles to obtain land from local authorities and town councils for housing development. Preference seems to be given to private entities,” they said.

“While being the housing construction entity of the government, NHE does not seem to feature on the national housing agenda. Government keeps doing housing projects like the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, private entrepreneurs through public-private partnerships and local authorities and town councils,” the managers added.

They also questioned why no one was being held accountable for the situation NHE finds itself in.

“These are serious issues hampering the progress of the NHE, yet no one has been held to account. Why nobody has to date been held accountable puzzles members of the management at the NHE and the board is required not to shy away from holding top management accountable,” the managers said.

‘Embarrassing collapse’

“The NHE management seeks a meeting with the board to express itself on the current problems to implore the board to seek decisive steps to ensure the NHE is saved from imminent embarrassing collapse,” the managers said.

NHE board chairperson Sam Shivute said the board of directors would first have to meet and deliberate on the matter before responding to the concerns raised in the letter, adding that they had only received it on 1 April. Meanwhile CEO Gisbertus Mukulu refused to comment, saying he was busy.

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