MPs No Show Regretted

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Although they are key to the implementation of the recommendations that came out of the recent Conference on Corporate Governance and Anti-Corruption, the organisers of the event are disappointed with the poor representation of top officials from some government ministries. Conference director Fre-derick Simpungwe yesterday told New Era that apart from international speakers that shared in-depth knowledge about the subject, very few key government officials who would be viewed as the right people to implement good corporate governance showed up. Though support was evident from offices such as State House, the Prime Minister’s Office, and Justice and from the Ministry of Finance, representatives from all ministries would have added more weight to the conference. “Mostly, regional councillors attended but directors and board members of parastatals were missing. “We wonder how the implementation of the recommendations would be done if key people were absent,” he lamented. However, the organisers would by the end of next week compile a report, which according to Simpungwe would be forwarded to the offices of the President, the Prime Minister and to the Anti Corruption Commission. Despite that challenge, he described the conference as having been fruitful and worth the effort. Phillip Armstrong, Chief Editor and Convener of the King Report on Corporate Governance, in his contribution during the conference stated that those in top positions including board members have a great role in promoting good governance. It is, therefore, important for any company or business to find ways to commit itself credibly to higher quality governance. As supported by most if not all participants, lack of good corporate governance places the economy of a given country in a disadvantageous situation. It also easily leads to mismanagement, corruption itself, and loss of investor confidence among others. Given that, Armstrong emphasises the need for entrusted officials to set the tone that involves the effective articulation of corporate standards and policies to ensure probity. The monitoring of performance, risk and setting the ethical framework are recommended as supported by Prime Minister Nahas Angula during the official opening of this conference. Justice Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana in her closing remarks made the defence that on the part of ministers, the conference was held at a crucial time when the budget was being discussed. “The budget debate is still on and members of Parliament are given strict orders to attend. “This has contributed to the absence of such officials at this conference. It is not that we boycotted,” she stated. She added that forums of this nature are instrumental in creating a platform for the exchange of ideas on a hot subject of corruption that calls for Namibia’s commitment in stamping it out and promote the spirit of good corporate governance. “Namibians will frown at us if we fail to establish such sound governance principles today. I therefore see this as the beginning of many more forums for constructive dialogue, not the end,” Iivula-Ithana noted. AZ Investment Holdings jointly hosted the conference with the centre for Training and Projects Development, as well as the offices of the President and the Prime Minister, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID) and Transparency International (TI).