President Pohamba reads the riot act to PSsesBy: JAN POOLMAN
SERVICE delivery in the public service has deteriorated to such an extent that President Hifikepunye Pohamba had to intervene yesterday to remind permanent secretaries of the problems that need urgent attention.
Besides those problems mentioned by Pohamba in a meeting with permanent secretaries at State House, he also urged the accounting officers to identify the causes of policy and programme implementation delays and find solutions.
However, at the same time he showered the senior officials with praises, saying: “You are indeed doing a good job in your individual areas of responsibility. But you must do more.”
Pohamba told the PSes that proper utilisation of the available scare resources in a transparent and accountable manner is essential.
“This is critical because we need to address the problems facing the people with utmost urgency.”
Pohamba specifically pinpointed problems at the Health Ministry, including increasing maternal and child death rates and the alleged negligence and bad attitude of some health workers.
“We must not, and will not tolerate such recklessness on the part of those who are duty bound to serve our citizens. The state of disrepair of hospital buildings must be addressed soonest, including unhygienic conditions in and around our hospitals, as well as the living quarters of nurses and doctors.”
Pohamba also expressed concern about crimes committed against women and children, adding that efforts need to be strengthened to bring to book those who are responsible for such crimes. At the same time the Police have to strengthen their public awareness and education programmes.
Another cause for concern for the Head of State is the appalling condition of school infrastructure, such as sewerage systems that become health hazards and chairs and desks that are not repaired.
According to him there is an improvement in revenue collection by the Finance Ministry, but the significant backlog in the assessment of tax returns needs to be reduced.
“Another area that requires immediate attention with regard to the quality of service delivery is the Ministry of Home Affairs where the citizens are experiencing huge backlogs in the processing of national documents. We must address these shortcomings without fail,” said Pohamba.
Other burning issues pointed out by the Head of State were the escalating of house prices, the problem of rural water supply, which he said needs a speedy solution, unemployment and the creation of jobs and his fear that the Targeted Intervention Program for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg) might fail.
He concluded by recognising the efforts of many of the permanent secretaries and in this regard referred to the finalisation of the strategic plans for ministries which were initiated by Prime Minister Nahas Angula more than two years ago.