MEDIA RELEASE FROM CABINET CHAMBERS

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Cabinet took the following decisions at the 20th meeting of the 4th Government held on 7 November, 2006: 1. Annual Review Meeting of Cabinet: 2006: Cabinet approved that Office/Ministries/Agencies should prepare a paper covering the following for discussion at the Annual Review Meeting of Cabinet: – The main/flagship programme of each Office/Ministry/Agency; – The implementation status of such programme(s); – Challenges or constraints encountered; – Stakeholder involvement; – Impact(s) of the programme(s) in terms of community benefits and employment creation; and – The way forward. Cabinet also requested that such papers be submitted to the Cabinet Secretariat at least two weeks before the meeting for processing and dissemination to Cabinet members. Cabinet also resolved to invite Deputy Ministers to participate in the review meeting. The Cabinet Review Meeting is scheduled to take place on 27 and 28 November 2006 at the Windhoek Country Club Resort. Further information can be obtained from the Office of the Prime Minister at telephone number 287-9111. 2. Implementation of the German Special Initiative for Namibia: Cabinet noted the progress made with the implementation of the German Special Initiative for Namibia and approved the Terms of Reference for consulting services on “The Special Initiative” and the placing of tender notices in Namibia and Germany. Cabinet also approved the establishment of a Programme Steering Committee composed of the National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, regional councils, civic organizations and the German Embassy/KFW. In 2005, the German Federal Republic proposed a special initiative and promise to commit N$160 million annually over ten years for development projects in areas and for communities that had “historic ties” with the German colonial government and which the present German Government considers as a special moral and political responsibility towards Namibia to aid the said communities. On the instruction of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila undertook an information and consultation mission to the Erongo, Hardap, Kunene, Karas, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions in February and March 2006 and submitted a report on her findings to the President. The report also contained a list of projects to ensure that communities benefit from the Special Initiative. During bilateral government negotiations between Namibia and Germany in May 2006, it was agreed to appoint consultants to verify and cost the submitted projects and needs of the communities and determine the disbursement of funds from the Special Initiative. Cabinet instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July 2006 to officially communicate Namibia’s position on the Initiative to the German Government. Cabinet also assigned the Director-General of the National Planning Commission to sign a Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to the Special Initiative on behalf of the Government of Namibia. Following the dialogue between the National Planning Commission Secretariat and the German Embassy and the visit of a KfW expert to Namibia in August 2006, the Terms of Reference for the consulting services on the Design and Feasibility Study for the Special Initiative Programme were prepared. The Terms of Reference were approved by the German Government, and after approval by the Namibian Government a tender notice can be published in Germany and Namibia. It was also agreed that a project steering committee should be established to oversee the implementation of the Special Initiative. The Steering Committee will have to do an annual review of the programme, consider and approve an annual work plan, and discuss and agree on strategic aspects of the programme. Further information can be obtained from the National Planning Commission Secretariat at telephone number 283-4233. 3. Endorsement of the National Policy on HIV/AIDS: Cabinet endorsed the National Policy on HIV/AIDS as approved by the National Aids Committee and granted approval to the Minister of Health and Social Services to table the Policy in the National Assembly and the National Council. The National Policy on HIV/AIDS has been developed during the past 18 months. As part of the process, a situation analysis and document review was done and the policy was formulated through consultations in all 13 regions of the country and through six sectoral workshops that brought all stakeholders together. The draft policy was submitted to Permanent Secretaries of all Ministries for written inputs. The draft policy addresses an enabling environment: prevention: treatment, care and support; impact mitigation; responding to HIV/AIDS in the workplace; institutional framework for policy implementation: as well as monitoring, evaluation, surveillance and research. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Health and Social Services at telephone number 203-9111. 4. Investigation into the Provision of Food to Government Hostels by Caterers: Cabinet noted the above-mentioned report and endorsed the establishment of a committee consisting of the Ministries of Finance; Education, Health and Social Services; and Justice to review the entire contract with caterers. Cabinet also supported the steps taken by the Ministry of Education following the resolution of the Treasury Cabinet Committee. The Ministry of Education has taken the following steps after a resolution by the Treasury Cabinet Committee: – The catering contract has been forwarded to the Attorney-General for advice on how to address the weaknesses in the contract; – The renovation of hostels will be made a priority, and special efforts will be made to get more funds for the renovation and upgrading of hostel infrastructure; – The caterers have been instructed to withdraw substandard items, such as a milk powder blend and to replace it with quality items as per the tender specifications; – Mahangu has been introduced as part of the menu, and mahangu porridge will be alternated with mahangu bread at least twice a week. An investigation into the quality of food provided at school hostels was launched following an article in January 2006 in The Namibian entitled School hostel food scare. Food samples were taken from school hostels in all 13 regions and it was sent to the Windhoek-based Analytical Laboratory Services cc, and the Pretoria-based South African Bureau of Standards for tests to determine the salt content of the food. Although the allegation on high quantities of salt in the food was rejected, it was found that starch and Soya were added to meat products contrary to the specifications of the contract. The mild powder blend was also found to be of low nutritional value and contrary to specifications. During the investigation, it was also found that the infrastructure of many school hostel kitchens were dilapidated. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Education at telephone number 2706307. 5. Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy for the Education Implementation Plan and Guide, and the Cabint Action Letter on the Implementation of the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSP): Cabinet approved the ICT Policy for Education Implementation Plan and Guide (Tech/Na!) and authorized the Ministry of Education to officially publicize the ICT Implementation Plan and Guide to be able to commence with its implementation. Cabinet also granted approval to the Education Ministry to liaise with the Minister of Finance and development partners to continue to source funding to support this initiative. Cabinet, furthermore, authorized the Ministry of Education to implement interventions of the ICT Policy Implementation Plan and Guide, which contemplates a series of high-level activities, including national initiatives that will benefit all educational institutions. The national initiatives include the following: – Leadership and project management that will allow the Information Technology Division in the Education Ministry to become a Project Management Office that oversees the day-to-day management of the initiative: – Infrastructure readiness and platform deployment, which allows for the expansion of the existing XNET/EduNet structure for the development and implementation of a framework to provide reliable and affordable Internet connectivity to all educational institutions; – Curriculum development that will allow the development of a National ICT Literacy Certification with agreed-upon unit standards, curriculum and training material approved by the National Qualifications Authority; – Content availability, which will allow the establishment of an E-Learning Centre to coordinate the e-learning activities of all educational institutions, provide training and act as the digital library of all electronic content; – Training and usage support in the form of a national scheme to train out-of-school youth on basic and advanced ICT skills; – Educational management that will allow the development of mechanisms to use ICTs for educational management at the school, regional and national level; – Maintenance and technical support, which provides for the establishment of an independent National Education Technology Service and Support (NETSS) Centre to be administered under a Board of Trustees to coordinate the maintenance and support of all ICTs in all educational institutions. Cabinet adopted the ICT Policy for Education in Namibia in March 2005, An ambitious implementation strategy has now been developed to stimulate and support the use of ICT in the education sector and to form a clear picture of the wide-ranging benefits of ICT by developing the current ICT Policy Implementation Plan Guide for Education. It is expected that close to N$345 million would be needed over the next five years to implement the ICT Policy Implementation Plan Guide for Education. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Education at telephone number 293-3125. 6. Transfer of Responsibility for Pre-Primary Education from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to the Ministry of Education: Cabinet approved the amendment of the 1996 National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy to allow the Ministry of Education to assume responsibility for the development of a pre-primary education programme as envisaged in the Education and Training Sector Improvement Programme (ETSIP). The 1996 Early Childhood Development Policy assigns the responsibility for children from birth to age six to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. The Policy also gives the responsibility for the management of programmes, standards and regulations, registration of centres, training of community activators and liaison officers to the Gender and Child Welfare Ministry, while the Ministry of Education is responsible for developing curricula, guidelines and provision of training in collaboration with the Gender Ministry and other Early Childhood development partners. ETSIP includes a sub-programme on Early Childhood Development and pre-primary education. According to ETSIP, the Ministry of Education has to develop a pre-primary programme, starting with the most disadvantaged schools in the country. This programme will benefit these children in the year before they enter the formal education system and will not cater for all children in the 5 to 6 year age group. An amendment is, therefore, proposed to the ECD Policy to make the Ministry of Education responsible for pre-primary education, a function that currently resides with the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Education at telephone number 293-3344. 7. Request for Additional Funds to Upgrade and Maintain Research and Training Facilities Under the Care of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry: Cabinet approved a request from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to allow the Ministry to make requisite budgetary provision over the next five years for the upgrading and maintenance of 21 research and training facilities under its care, starting in the 2007/2008 financial year. The research stations that require upgrading and maintenance include the following: – Sandveld in the Omaheke region; – Omatjenne, Uitkomst, Sonop, Tsumkwe and Okomumbonde in the Otjozondjupa region; – Sachinga in the Caprivi Region; – Mile 46, Mashare and Bagani in the Kavango region; – Okapya, Okashana and Mannheim in the Oshikoto region; – Oshaambelo and Omahenene in the Omusati region; – Tsumis, Kalahari Research Station, Hardap Research Station and the Hardap Karakul Centre in the Hardap region; – Gellap Ost in the Karas region; and – Bergvlug in the Khomas region. The majority of these research stations and college farms contribute enormously to State revenue, but are not receiving the attention they deserve. In most cases, staff houses and administrative buildings need to be upgraded and maintained, while fences also require maintenance and bush-encroachment needs to be addressed. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry at telephone number 208-7643. 8. Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Country Mutual Evaluation Report: Cabinet noted the outcome of the above-mentioned mutual evaluation and granted permission to the Minister of Finance to share the document with member countries and development partners of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money-Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). The report found that although Namibia has made progress regarding anti-money-laundering and has systems in place against money-laundering and terrorist financing, legislation to address it is still absent. Since the political will is there to fight this evil, the Minister of Finance is of the opinion that Namibia will be one of the few countries in the region who can easily move to the level of a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliant country once the relevant legislation is in place. ESAAMLG member states resolved at a meeting in Swaziland in October 2005 to share and publicize mutual evaluations reports on the ESAAMLG website. The report will have a positive impact on the way that Namibia is viewed by international investors and financing agencies/donors as it reflects the commitment of the country to combat this crime. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Finance at telephone number 209-9111. 9. Transfer of House No. BM122/249/546 to the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa): Cabinet approved the transfer of the above-mentioned property to Nampa. Nampa became a parastatal entity following an October 2000 Cabinet decision. Upon transformation in 2001, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government and the Nampa Board of Directors to transfer all buildings and accommodation being used by Nampa at that time to the Agency. Due to an administrative oversight, the above-mentioned property was not transferred to Nampa as per the 2001 Memorandum of Understanding. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication at telephone number 208-9111. 10. Conference on Financing for Development in Africa Attended by African Ministers of Finance and Planning: Cabinet endorsed the commitments made by African Ministers of Finance and supported the commitment to allocate resources, through the budget, to sectors where they are required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Cabinet also supported the process of disseminating information on government financial operations to civil society organizations and other stakeholders within the context of the existing legal framework. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, aimed at addressing poverty, education, health and the environment by 2015, were agreed upon in September 2000. These goals are crucial to address development challenges in developing countries, particularly Africa. In April 2002, African leaders met in Dakar, Senegal, to deliberate on action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Although African countries have made significant strides in realigning their policies and strategies to meet the MDGs, additional resources are needed to meet their targets. The Conference on Financing for Development in Africa was held in Abuja, Nigeria to demonstrate the commitment by Africa’s leaders to meet the MDGs and to ensure that developed countries are called upon to honour their commitments. The Abuja conference was a first critical step by African Finance Ministers to translate financing for development into action. The main focus of the conference was on the outcome of the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, where developed nations committed themselves to write off debts for poor nations and to double official development aid to Africa. Namibia’s Finance Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and National Planning Commission Director-General, Helmut Angula, represented Namibia at the Abuja meeting. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Finance at telephone number 209-9111. 11. Hosting of The Southern African Customs Union (SACU’s) Interstate Oil Committee Meeting in Namibia: Cabinet gave the green light to the Ministry of Mines and Energy to host the above-mentioned meeting in Namibia on 15 and 16 November, 2006. SACU’s Interstate Oil Committee consists of SACU member states, namely: Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho. These states keep regular contact on the acquisition, storage, supply, distribution and related issues of petroleum products in the Customs Union area. The SACU Interstate Oil Committee meetings provide a platform for sharing information and ensuring the continued supply of petroleum products to all SACU member sates on a sustained basis, as well as the need to harmonize specific and price formulae to enhance regional trade. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Mines and Energy at telephone number 284-8308. 12. Final Report on the Techncal Audit of Ongopolo’s Mineral Resources and Reserves: Cabinet noted the Final Report on the Technical Audit of Ongopolo’s Mineral Resources and Reserves. The cost for the technical audit was approximately N$773ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 and the Ministry of Mines and Energy paid for it. The financial and technical audits of Ongopolo Mining and Processing Limited were approved by Cabinet at its 5th ordinary meeting on 14 March 2006 to establish its real financial situation and to give a high degree of credibility of the mineable ore reserves and/or resources of Ongopolo. This decision was taken when the mine experienced serious financial problems and on the basis that the Government was the largest creditor of Ongopolo. The report found that, although not estimated in accordance with current Best Practice, the mineral resources and reserves reported by Ongopolo were a reasonable representation of the available information and the classification on the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves was appropriate. The report also found that there was no maliciousness and gross negligence to the estimation or reporting of the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves by Ongopolo, It states that the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves of Ongopolo could be very useful to the new management of Ongopolo, namely: Weatherly International Plc. The audit also found that the high cost of Ongopolo’s operations was generally driven by fixed