SOEs Tongue-Lashed for Breaching Act

The Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta had no kind words for paratatals which are in direct violation of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Act when it comes to annual general meetings, paying tax to government and accumulating huge losses year in, yearout due to incompetence.

He tongue-lashed chief executive officers and managing directors of SOEs yesterday during his visit to New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC).

“When you are in a position and you don’t effect changes and things are going down, you taint your reputation. You’d better even quit. I was telling colleagues running companies (state-owned enterprises) that if it were a private company, you wouldn’t even be here for a year. Seriously, no one will tolerate what you are doing. You take over a company that was doing well and making break-even. When you take over things start going down. Then you start giving all the theoretical reasons,” he remarked.

“But yet after five years, you want to ask for another renewal. But some say sometimes ‘we have been doing this in government’ and I say this is totally unacceptable,” said Shifeta.

He said incompetence should come to an end for parastatals to regain public confidence.

“We are making people think that government institutions can just be run as you wish. It is a matter of people having institutionalised that tradition that when you are running a government institution you don’t really need to be competent and innovative. You sleep and then you go to the bar and drink and then in the morning you wake up – as long as you show your face in the office.

Even when things are going wrong they believe it is okay,” he said.

Shifeta said many managers when things go wrong always come up with turnaround strategies, which eventually become a bailout by government.

“It is really pathetic to the point that people accept that it’s a norm. I am talking about companies established according to the statutes and supposed to make profit and they don’t have competitors. They are making losses because they don’t innovate. They are always in the red and they even run out of operational money, and they can’t pay their human capital,” he said.

He noted that most boards of directors don’t even understand business concepts, adding they don’t even look at the law concerning the companies they are running.

“Some of them are really in omission. I warned them that they in violation of the law. Some don’t even pay tax to government but they deduct Pay As You Earn (PAYE), which is theft. It’s like saying go pay my account at MTC and along the way you find something interesting and you say I want kapana and you go eat. You don’t even inform me that you didn’t pay my money to the creditor and later I am told I did not pay. This is theft, the police are supposed to arrest you. This is not your money, you even deduct pension money from employees and you use it for operational money,” Shifeta said.

Another issue he raised was that companies do not hold annual general meetings (AGMs) as stipulated by law.

“If you don’t have AGMs there is no way you can appoint auditors, because shareholders meet with companies to look at records. You can also be arrested for not having AGMs. How do you just get away without having AGMs and without a company secretary? That’s a very serious violation of the law. That’s where you make mistakes, but as board of directors you are supposed to learn the established law and aise the minister accordingly,” he added.

He also lashed out at managers who allegedly run to his office to discuss the budget, without consulting their board of directors.

“I allow them to come deliberately. They say I want to come discuss and report to you. I ask them since when do you report to your shareholders when you have directors, and I send them off. I tell them we don’t appoint CEOs or MDs, we appoint boards of directors. If I allow them to come, it is an indication that I have no vote of confidence in the board,” he added.

“There are a lot of anomalies, that is why our companies are not doing things right and they end up in court and lose cases on technicalities as they don’t follow procedures,” he said.

Source : New Era