Ministers dodge questions on SOEs – Smit

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) shadow minister of finance and parliamentarian Nico Smit has accused some ministers of failing to be available to answer questions on the accountability and operations of parastatals.

Speaking to Desert Radio on Tuesday, Smit said some members of the Cabinet are not always forthcoming when it comes to providing feedback to parliament on the performance or non performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

His sentiments come at a time when finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi tabled a budgetary allocation of about N$6 billion for TransNamib over the next three-year medium term expenditure framework. This is meant to breathe life into the ailing parastatal. Another parastatal getting a shot in the arm is the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco), which has been struggling for a lifeline over the past few years owing to external debt and inadequate operational capital.

“The ministers do not turn up to parliament to address these issues and we have nothing that we can do. Both ministers and their deputies simply abscond when needed to answer questions in parliament,” he said.

He added that while it is imperative for TransNamib and Meatco to be assisted, their operational models should be scrutinised to ensure they turn their fortunes around through prudent financial management and adequate staffing.

Smit said the failure by Cabinet members to account to parliament is one of the reasons some parastatals continue to operate without proper structures and set goals.

Speaking on the same issue, Public Service Union of Namibia secretary general Matthew Haakuria said there is a need for parastatals to be assisted but they should account for public funds, which is a challenge in SOEs.

“There are some of the SOEs that have gone for more than five years without submitting annual reports to parliament. How does this work? If they are assisted, they must also be monitored so that there is accountability.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News