Consultants only to formulate a strategic plan: Jooste

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Public Enterprises will appoint consultants for a year to analyze and conduct research to formulate a strategic plan for this newly-formed government agency.

At a media conference on Friday, the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste said the consultants being sought will be normal consultants to do the required research and leave the ministry to be run by those that have been appointed to do so.

“The ministry is given up to a year to conduct research, analysis, and evaluation and for this purpose, we have to appoint consultants. The consultants will also work with the ministry to formulate a strategic plan which will ultimately translate into the permanent structure of the ministry. The consultants will not have any executive role to perform at this ministry. They will rather make recommendations based on the facts collected during their research based work,” he stated.

A local daily, The Namibian reported about two weeks ago that a ‘consultant to run the SOE ministry’ with costs estimated between N.dollars 14 million to 24 million for the ministry. The operational budget for the ministry is only N.dollars 26 million. However, Jooste said he has no idea what are the costs involved to appoint the consultants for the job. He is adamant that if, the need arises, the ministry will request monies from the contingency budget at the Ministry of Finance. “We do not want to under spend, and will request additional funds if we need it,” he noted. Jooste did also not deliberate on the tender process in appointing the consultants, but indicted that Tender Board will make a decision this week.

He emphasized that a formal part of the permanent structure in the ministry will be the Corporate Advisory Reform Unit (CARU). The ultimate composition of this unit will be revealed during the strategic planning process, but three to five people is ideal for this unit, according to Jooste.

The principle of quality versus quantity is the guide of the ministry, according to Jooste, with a preference of a small group of “top professionals.” The Technical Advisor in the ministry Aino Hemphrey will coordinate the work of the consultants.

The consultants are expected to do amongst others: conduct research and development on international best practices and feeding the data back to the public enterprises; advise on the appropriate framework for financial and human resource management, supply chain management, information communication technology management and the provision of legal advisory services; provide value additional services such as critically analyzing strategic business plans and advise relevant public enterprises on potential improvements and/or to highlight potential risks that can offset progress in the sector.

Meanwhile, about the Amendment Bill to the State-Owned Enterprises Governance Act of 2006, now known as Public Enterprises Governance Bill that was discussed in the National Assembly last month, Jooste said it will be approved by Parliament in due course. The ministry was since its inception “kept hostage without this piece of legislation,” according to Jooste.

“Be assured that I together with the Deputy Minister Engel Nawatiseb are and will be in charge of the affairs of this ministry until such time as we are removed from this responsibility by the appointing authority,” he added.