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Jooste maps the way ahead
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17 July 2015
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news jooste 17 julyPublic Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste on Wednesday shared his vision for State Owned Enterprises when he addressed an enthusiastic crowd at the first-ever Windhoek Observer Forum.

 

The Windhoek Observer Forum serves as a platform for dialogue between Government, the private sector, various business leaders and the public.

Jooste spoke about State Owned Enterprises and accountability, saying the current dual model of shared responsibility has not worked.

Currently lines are blurred when it comes to identifying where the ultimate authority with parastatals lies, because each parastatal has a line minister and now also fall under the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

“We will have to migrate to a single governance model, but at this stage the line ministry focuses on strategic objectives. Our job should be to implement and do the dirty work behind the scenes,” Jooste explained.

He said his ministry is in the process of evaluating different global models that might be best suited for implementation in Namibia, and there is no need to waste time and resources re-inventing the wheel.

Jooste made particular reference to the ownership model currently used in Singapore where all State Owned Enterprises fall under a holding company, with the Minister of Finance as the only minister at the top of the structure.

He further referred to countries that have established wealth funds that would continue to serve the economy even after a country had depleted a particular natural resource.

Jooste spoke frankly about the ailing condition of some SOEs, but explained that not all of them had to make a profit.

Having studied the various laws governing SOEs in Namibia, he said there is a need for a massive reform of SOEs, but the first step is to have the Act formalising his ministry passed into law.

The minister addressed several concerns during the question and answer session.

These included conflict of interest with SOE board members, inadequate risk management as well as the perceived conflict  between himself and the Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb.

He also remarked that Government was currently working on a public private partnership policy (PPP) and that he was very keen on PPPs. Jooste spoke passionately about artificial monopolies such as TransNamib and NamPower. He questioned why the power utility is the sole service provider in the entire energy cycle.

“TransNamib operates the railway system but they do not own it. A businessman should be able to purchase a train and use the rail system if he so pleases,” Jooste said.

Attorney General Sakeus Shanghala will be the next speaker when the forum convenes on 30 July.

He will address the Windhoek Observer Forum on the topic of Land: A legal Perspective.

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