SOEs a burden - Jooste

Instead of generating revenue, state-owned enterprises have become a burden by depending on annual government subsidies.

13 September 2019 | Government

Public enterprises minister Leon Jooste says state-owned enterprises in Namibia, with the exception of a few, have failed to optimally deliver on their mandates.

“In some instances, instead of public enterprises supporting the generation of revenue for the state, they have in fact become a burden to the state, by depending on annual government subsidies and guarantees to sustain their operations,” Jooste said. “For 2018/19 alone, public enterprises received a total allocation from the budget of N$4.024 billion. Even more concerning is the fact that commercial public enterprises, entities that are supposed to be profitable, received N$1.41 billion.” Jooste was speaking yesterday at the opening of a two-day SOE national conference being held at The Dome in Swakopmund. The theme is 'Performance monitoring: Unleashing public enterprises potential for growth'. The conference is being attended by SOE stakeholders from Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Sweden.

Jooste said public enterprises in Namibia were created to, amongst others, provide public goods, generate public funds, increase access to public services, while maintaining efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate economic development and industrialisation.

According to Jooste, the ministry's aim is to change-manage a complete mind-shift, where the corporate DNA of public enterprises is transformed into a performance-orientated culture.

Counsellor for development cooperation at the German embassy in Windhoek, Gerlinde Sauer, acknowledged the determination of Namibia's public enterprises ministry to ensure the full implementation of its mandate, as the professional shareholder of government. According to her, the German government will stay committed to supporting the ministry in this endeavour.

“We have commissioned GIZ to support the ministry of public enterprises in developing management tools to fulfill its mandate.

“With our support amounting to N$32 million over the course of three years, we will contribute to the development of an effective performance management system for commercial state-owned enterprises. “Our focus will be specifically on the development of a digital information system, to assess the performance of commercial state-owned enterprises,” Sauer said. The conference serves as platform to create a strong common understanding around the performance management system for all public enterprises in Namibia.

It will also share and interrogate the legal framework underpinning performance management in public enterprises, share best practices used by public enterprises globally, as well discuss and recommend the appropriate performance management framework for local SOEs.

ADOLF KAURE

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