Prime Minister concerned about financial performance in public sector
> Timo Shihepo
Windhoek – Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said that she is still concerned by the financial performance of various government Offices, Ministries and Agencies (OMAs) who continue to splash the cash on transactions that are not authorised by Parliament.
This is a trend which has been going on for many years and has seen a lot of OMAs spending excessively beyond the approved budget which led to some of them going into debts and requiring tax payer’s money for bailouts.
Government owned companies such as Air Namibia, TransNamib have recently spent beyond their budgets and have cost government more than N$1 billion in bail outs up to date.
An Auditor-General report also shows that some ministries have also not been having it easy with statistics showing that the Ministry of Health and Social Services has failed to account for more than N$300 million in the past three financial years although they have been notified that the vital ministry has been carrying the deficit.
Addressing public office bearers including permanent secretaries at State House on October 5, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said there was a need to stop the excessive spending as soon as possible.
“I am still very much concerned about the financial performance of some OMAs when analysing the findings and recommendations made annually by the Auditor-General.
“The most serious audit finding is, of course, a disclaimed or qualified audit opinion, but there are other worrying findings, such as spending in excess of vote appropriations approved by Parliament, in other words unauthorised spending,” she said.
The premier also lambasted government officials who fail to provide information required by the Auditor-General to carry out his audit as well as the worrying tendency of unreconciled suspense accounts.
“There is also the issue of failure to account for transactions on private bank accounts. We will have to take the findings of the Auditor-General more serious and the findings – whether favourable or unfavourable – should feature prominently in the Performance Agreement with the Accounting Officers,” she said.
Also during the high level meeting on improving coordination and cooperation within government, the Prime Minister disclosed that her office has finalised revision of the declaration of interest requirements for civil servants.
“All civil servants will have to seek permission to do remunerative work outside the public service, and will also have to declare not only their interests in investments and business activities, but also their fixed assets.
“The purpose of this exercise is to protect the interests of the Public Service by ensuring that staff members and members of the service place their whole time at the disposal of the Government; and to prevent unfair competition between staff members and persons in the private sector; and a possible conflict of interest.
“For this reason, I urge OMAs to take this matter seriously and to use their discretion to determine whether staff members with private business interests are still productive in the public service or whether they should not pursue a business career and resign from the public service,” she said.