By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “I urge the head office, through the office of the permanent secretary and the ministry’s five directors to work much harder so as to further cement, solidify and strengthen a professional working relationship and the coordination of all ministerial activities.” The minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, John Mutorwa, said this in his New Year message to his staff at Rundu. “The principle of judicious utilization of resources (finances, transport, offices, official/public time, human capital, etc.) will continuously be upheld and jealously defended in the ministry, now and in the future. Culprits will be fairly but firmly dealt with, strictly in terms of our country’s laws and ministry policies, rules, regulations and convention,” Mutorwa warned. The minister went on to highlight some of the challenges and expectations of his ministry for 2007: “We must ensure that the envisaged Multi-Purpose Youth Resource centres, in all the 13 regions of the country, are constructed, properly maintained and well functioning; that all agricultural training centres are productive and fully functional; the finalization and approval, by the NYS (National Youth Service) board and management of the appropriate market-related and demand-driven training programmes and training manuals for the NYS, and that they be put as priority number one on the list, by the NYS board and management.” Mutorwa also urged that serious attention be given to the productive development of all agricultural land allocated to his ministry. “I have in mind here land at Katima Mulilo, Kangongo, Nkurenkuru, Etunda, Henties Bay and Noordoewer,” he said. In the sport arena the minister encouraged proper coordination, liaison and communication by the Namibia Sports Commission for the country to maximally and competently participate in international sports events such as the All Africa Games; the 2007 ANOCA Games; the 2008 SCSA/Zone VI Under 20 Youth Games; the 2008 Olympic Games; the 2010 AFCON in Angola and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. “Serious attention should also be given to the proper maintenance and expansion of existing sport facilities, as well as the development of new facilities, where none exist. In this regard, closer cooperation with and support from the private sector, the business community, is not only required, but also eventually and really indispensable. Sport is not only a leisure, but is also a very powerful vehicle for economic empowerment and financial contentment,” the minister asserted. He encouraged the Directorate of Heritage to work on a plan for the erection of an independence monument in the capital for the country’s 20th independence anniversary in 2010. “The annual National Cultural Festival has now become an inseparable part of the nation’s cultural calendar. Continuous improvements and refinements to make the festival still much livelier, entertaining, informative and educational are a must. Furthermore, the Directorate of Arts must continue and indeed, even intensify its efforts, of assisting upcoming artists and musicians, through existing institutions,” the minister said. Mutorwa also warned his more than 365 staff members against absenteeism. “Unless each and everyone of us is productive on each and every working day of the said 365 days, then, it is not possible to satisfactorily execute our programmes within a year. Unnecessary absenteeism from work must be a thing of the past. “Unproductive presence at the workplace, synonymous to physical absence, is and must also be unacceptable and rejected by us all,” he concluded.