Jooste officially opens Public Enterprises Conference

Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste listed that inappropriate governance, inappropriate legal framework and not equipping line ministries with specialised skills to perform functions of professional shareholders are reasons for the enterprises' failure.

Jooste, who was speaking during the official opening of the two-day Public Enterprises (PEs) Conference Namibia here on Thursday, added that PEs 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.

Although, Public Enterprises (PEs) were created to perform these critical functions, many of our PEs in Namibia with the exception of the few, have failed to optimally deliver on the mandate they were created for, he said.

The conference is aimed to serve as a platform for delegates from all PEs to create a strong common understanding around performance management system used in Namibia anda share performance management best practices used by PEs globally, amongst others.

The minister added that in some instances, instead of PEs 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.

For 2018/19 alone, PEs received a total allocation of N. dollars 4, 024 billion from the budget.

Even more concerning is the fact that Commercial PEs, entities that are supposed to be profitable, received N. dollars 1, 41 billion.

Jooste however credited the fact that despite the latter, the profitability of commercial improved from N. dollars 840 million to N. dollars 1, 9 billion from 2016/17 to 2018/19 while that of the financial institutions and extra-budgetary funds improved from N. dollars 633 million to N. dollars 760 million over the same period.

Moreover, the total wage bill for the 17 464 Public Enterprises employees has reached N. dollars 8, 5 billion per annual translating into 28 per cent of the total PEs expenditure of N. dollars 30 billion per annum, which is beyond the average 27 per cent of other African countries and of concern to the ministry.

Councellor for Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Namibia Gerlinde Sauer stressed that PEs play crucial role for socio-economic development of Namibia as they provide basic goods and services like power, water and transport.

She noted that the conference comes at a suitable and appropriate time in order to send out a strong signal to the Namibian public in general and the Top Management of PEs.

The conference which is expected to end on Friday is being attended by international delegates from South Africa, Botswana, Sweden, New Zealand and Kenya.

Source: Namibia Press Agency