“I want to categorically state that the Ministry of Public Enterprises or myself as Minister have the best interest of our national economy and collective social well-being, and the public enterprises that play an important role in these realities, at heart.
“Having said that, we have been tasked to evaluate the potential rationalisation of the portfolio of public enterprises and some hard choices may have to be made from time-to-time. We will, however, have due regard to all the potential consequences and we will only make proposals after thorough analysis, consultation and evaluation.
“The Public Enterprises Governance Act contains an entire section on the “Restructuring of Public Enterprises” where a detailed process is described to restructure any public enterprise and this process involves the endorsement of Cabinet.
All options are considered for each and every commercial public enterprise, as there is no set agenda for the reform process other than that national socio-economic interests are safeguarded, and all possible measures explored to ensure that the public enterprises perform well in their respective sectors, and move to a point where they no longer rely on government support for operations.
We need to have an open mind to find the most appropriate combination of measures for each public enterprise. We are not using a cookie cutter approach but assess each public enterprise from a financial, socio-economic, legal and human capital perspective. That analysis informs our recommendations.
Public-private-partnerships in public enterprises will be subject to the provisions of the Act and will originate from the public enterprises, not from line ministries. We have not been informed of any new potential PPPs at any of the public enterprises. PPPs cannot be described as any form of “privatisation” as these agreements do not entail the alienation of shareholding.
If any shareholding in a public enterprise is considered, it will be regarded as a “restructuring” exercise and this will have to follow due process as per the legal requirements of the Public Enterprises Governance Act.
The fact of the matter is that we now have a dedicated Ministry of Public Enterprises to empower the government in its role as shareholder to become a professional, responsible shareholder on behalf of the people of Namibia.
Our Ministry is bringing about change and human nature dictate that change is more often than not met with resistance. I often quote Einstein on his definition of insanity which is to “do the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. The tricky part is to lead change and to manage change.
The Ministry of Public Enterprises will not approve business plans submitted by public enterprises unless we are convinced that they are feasible. Many business plans are funding requests, rather than proper business plans and they are often based on assumptions and projections which cannot be quantified.”