The State and Future of the Public Service in Namibia – Part Two [analysis]

This background propelled the Namibian Government to create, by way of an Act of Parliament, Act 10 of 2010, the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) with the vision to transform the public service and create a single-minded service, imbued with a work ethic and single-mindedness of serving Namibian citizens.

In order for the country to remain stable, secure, peaceful, stable and harmonious, those who work in the name of the Government–be it at national, regional and local levels, from the President as Head of State to the supervisor in the local rural clinic, must adhere to the precept that all public servants, must acquire a different appreciation that they work for the Namibian citizens, not a party or an ethnic group or a church.

All public servants must internalize that the ruling party is in power by virtue of having won the tender in the last general elections to govern the country on behalf of the citizens.

Towards this end Nipam, since its inauguration in 2011, has been working to establish the formula to bring about the needed transformation in the public service in the land. Nipam offers different training modules in the form of specific programmes to meet particular transformational needs in the public sector mainly along the lines of delineated interventions towards appointment, promotion and transfer in the public service. The programmes are:

Foundation Programme: Meant to impart basic and fundamental understandings of Namibia’s national philosophy, political economy, democratic values and legislative environment, the ethics of the liberation struggle, the history of public service in Namibia, the machinery of government the ethics of government services for sustainable development, developing and instilling in the participants the spirit de corps and fostering attitudes necessary to function as civil servants anywhere in the country

Middle Management Development Programme: Meant to give participants competencies required at middle management levels in the public sector. This programme is accredited by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) at level 5 and recognised by the Namibian Qualification Authority (NQA) and can contribute towards further studies at undergraduate level and further studies at Southern Business School.

A good segment of the Middle Management Development Programme is for Regional and Local Government to contribute to the decentralization and improvement of service delivery at regional and local levels of government in the country. This training is tailored mainly for leaders in regional councils, divisional managers of municipal and town councils, housing authorities and village managers and secretaries.

Senior Management Development Programme: Meant to offer participants the required personal and professional strategic skills in cognitive, emotive and attitudinal scopes of work in order to increase their understandings of: Good Governance in Namibia, Public Finance for Good Governance, Professional Competencies for Good Governance, Leadership and Organisation Development, and Management Applications for Good Governance.

This Corporate Governance Training is mainly tailored for Boards, CEOs and Senior Managers in State-Owned Enterprises in Namibia in need of the necessary skills to enhance the performance of their respective enterprise to ensure good service delivery to the citizens through the application of the principles of good corporate governance in the management of SOEs.

Executive Leadership Programme: Meant to sharpen the strategic leadership and management skills of senior leaders in Government and the private sector

In addition, Nipam is in the process of consulting with relevant stakeholders such as the Public Service Commission, the National Planning Commission, Ministries, the SOE Governing Council and SOE executives to craft a specialized training programme for coaching and mentoring.

Furthermore, Nipam is in the process of developing training interventions for public figures in need of assistance with their communication skills in the English language and in public speaking generally.

All these interventions are geared towards bringing about a public service in Namibia that is professional and of one mind, dedicated to the development goals of the country as articulated explicitly and implicitly in Vision 2030 and the National Development Programmes (NDP). The values in all these offerings are those of being citizen-centric, non-partisan, developmental oriented, empowering of all Namibian citizens who must believe that to work for the Government is not a right but a privilege to serve.

An important consideration in the business of Nipam as a management development institute is that the Namibian nation has aanced to a stage where it is no longer managing a post-colonial or post-apartheid economy but an economy of a developmental state, a progressive developmental state. This understanding is very important because in Namibia, as in most countries in Asia and Africa, the state is the biggest role player in development and it is the public sector which has the mandate and power to steer the utilization of available resources towards the upliftment of the people. In our context, the state is the driver of development even though at times business is the engine. After all it is the public sector that has the responsibility to respond to the people in accord with the promises made during democratic elections.

Where to now? The foundation has been laid and the rationale for establishing Nipam, alongside the more than 70 State Owned Enterprises, is to serve as vehicles for transformation of the public sector specifically and the national economy as a whole.

The charge for the SOEs is to assist the state in distributing wealth and in so doing alleviate poverty and contribute to the second phase of the liberation struggle, namely economic emancipation. It is not about making the few of us super rich over night, but to speedily narrow the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in our society.

If Nipam does well to execute the mandate given to it by the Namibian Government, Namibia will be the first in Africa to steer its public service in the right direction purposefully.

Vision 2030 expresses this charge that in order for Namibia to move between now and 2030, there must be a paradigm shift, that is, we must change the way we think about ourselves and begin to do business in an unusual manner with the appreciation that the Namibian people are the most precious resource on this journey. Nipam in this regard serves as a think tank for acting as the interface between the shapers and implementors of government policy as well as a research repository of change and transformation.

The dream here is to create an integrated public service that is ready to respond in time and appropriately to the changes in the democratic environment and continue to mortgage Namibia as the most peaceful and most stable country on the African continent.

Nipam is poised to become the training hub for progressive and national development oriented public services in the SADC region and beyond.

In essence, all state functionaries, ministers, members of the legislatures and permanent secretaries need development in order to be efficient and effective role players in a knowledge economy that Namibia is becoming.

While we are small in size, let us have the big heart such as the ones our fighters possessed during the struggle for national independence and the boldness to march forward in harmony and towards our grand rendezvous with history.

Source : New Era