The Ministry of Public Enterprises has begun a process of re-classification of all State-owned enterprises into tiers, a process that Minister of Public Enterprise Leon Jooste hopes will usher in a new era in the governance of parastatals.
“We need to agree on a new governance model for public enterprises for Namibia,” Minister Jooste said last week.
Speaking at the launch of the Public Enterprises and Chief Executive Officer’s Forum last Thursday, Jooste said from the shareholder side the current model that these entities operate on is not working optimally.
“It is now ideal for us to agree on platforms, like these, what the real model for Namibia today would be. We will only agree and support a model that we know will work best for you,” he told a number CEOs attending the meeting.
He said a lot of benchmarking was done on the way public enterprises globally are governed. “That wheel has been invented and many countries more developed than ours have made many mistakes, which we don’t have to make again.”
Jooste said Namibia does not have a clear definition of what a public enterprise is and these forums and the nation should decide on this. “In many countries under their law they define and differentiate between State-owned enterprises, public enterprises and parastatal enterprises,” the minister said.
“Should we become more focused and define ourselves slightly more than what we have in the past?” he asked.
Jooste said the CEO Forum as a platform would offer his ministry the opportunity to discuss issues, such as the performance of boards, CEOs and senior management.
“Performance agreements must be an interactive and negotiable process. You should not be told what your targets are. Your shareholder doesn’t want anybody to be set up for failure by agreeing in the contract to key performance indicators, which you know in signing the contract you will not be able to achieve. It must be interactive.”
He also explained why the ministry wants CEO performance evaluations and measurements: “The idea is expose failures and to understand why a certain entity, or a department within your entity is failing.”
He said if the problem is that a person does not having the capacity to carry out his duties, then the first thing for the organisation’s mentor or supervisor is to assess how best to complement that person’s skills to help them achieve their goals.
“We will be using technology. It must be IT-based. It is the only way to measure this. You will have access to the new system and the ministry will have access to all. We are in the beginning of a long reform process.”
“We will ask each SOE or public enterprise to have an HR (human resources) policy, finance policy or a dividend policy for commercial enterprises.” The reforms have been approved by Cabinet and will soon be tabled in parliament, he said.