Namwandi, Tjivikua at loggerheads

08 August 2014 Author  

front Namwandi Tjivikua 08 augSimmering tensions between the Minister of Education David Namwandi and the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia Tjama Tjivikua have reached boiling point with Tjivikua claiming the minister is doing the bare minimum to assist the Polytechnic’s transition process. Tjivikua believes the education minister is deliberately sabotaging the sourcing of funding from the finance minister, while in turn Namwandi says he has done everything in his power to assist.

 

In fact, Namwandi feels that by having embarked on the transformation process at this stage Tjivikua has put the cart before the horse, saying that the rector should have waited for funds to become available.

“It was a Cabinet decision to elevate the status of the Polytechnic and nobody is going back on that decision, but it must be understood that it is a process and we will not complete it overnight,” Namwandi said.

The education minister revealed this week that his ministry had started discussions and drawing up the budget for the transformation, but only for the next financial year.

Tjivikua in an interview on Wednesday disclosed that although he presented the Ministry of Education with a five-year transformation budget at the beginning of 2013 they have not received a cent.

“Since Cabinet approved the transformation of the Polytechnic at the end of 2012, we have not received any money, and we have had to source funding from other projects to foot the bill for some of the activities.

“We could not put the process on hold so we went ahead with the nationwide consultations for example, and we had to take money from our existing budget to fund this process,” Tjivikua said.

The rector explained that Polytechnic had budgeted N$250,000.00 and N$ 275,000.00 for transformation for the years 2013 and 2014 respectively.

“If you combine this and last year’s budget it is already just more than half a million that we have waited for, and not a cent has been sent our way,” Tjivikua said.

Namwandi explained that after he personally wrote to the Minister of Finance for funding last year, the ministry informed him that there was no money and he forwarded this correspondence to Tjivikua.

The Rector, however, said he did not take the negative response lightly considering that in the same year the ministry of education returned N$150 million to treasury.

The Education Minister once more came out in defence of his ministry highlighting that they requested finance to direct the surplus funds to the Polytechnic, but that the rules and procedures of the State Finance Act did not allow for this.

“We tried our level best but it was out of our hands. The Poly is a public institution and we all want to see it succeed, and there is also no single individual who can claim victory for it,” he said.

Tjivikua further made comparisons with the University of Namibia, which at the time of constructing their Engineering and Medical Campuses received enough money to construct each of their new campuses.

“Why it is some institutions receive a certain treatment but others get what they need when they need it. We have had to use so much of our own money at this point our funds are depleted.

“I could not even instruct that we should paint a wall at the Polytechnic at this point. That is how dire the situation is, and the cash flow deficit has really hampered how we go about business on a day-to-day basis.

The Rector further referred to the fact that the ministry was quick to complain when they increased their tuition fees, but had no problem sitting back and watching the institution literally bleed out.

“Every year we see Government paying out billions to state owned parastatals that receive Government bail outs, but we cannot even fund a Cabinet directive,” Tjivikua said.
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