|YEAR-OPENING STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE ERKKI NGHIMTINA,|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2012 06:24|
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
YEAR-OPENING STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE ERKKI NGHIMTINA, MINISTER OF WORKS AND TRANSPORT, DURING THE FIRST STAFF MEETING FOR THE YEAR 2012
30 JANUARY 2012
Honourable Deputy Minister of MWT, Cde Chief Samuel Ankama
Permanent Secretary, MWT, Mr. George Simataa
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Balbina B. Pienaar
Under Secretaries of the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Directors and Deputy directors of MWT
GIZ Advisor to the Minister, Dr. Prof Semar
Namibia Ports Authority, CEO, Bisey Uirab
Roads Authority, Acting CEO, Conrad Lutombi
Road Contractor Company, CEO, Engelhard Haihambo
MVA-Fund, CEO, Jerry Muadinohamba
TransNamib, CEO, Titus T. Haimbili
Namibia Airport Company, CEO, Mr. Ben Biwa
Air Namibia, Acting Managing Director, Ms. Theo M. Namases
Members of Management Cadre and Staff of the MWT
Members of various Media Houses
Ladies and Gentlemen
ALL PROTOCOL OBSERVED!
HIGH LEVEL STATEMENT
We are humbled and grateful to be blessed with yet another year to excel in all our actions. Indeed, it is a great privilege and honour to welcome you all to our first staff meeting in 2012.
Leisure time is over, we are back to business. I believe you are well-rested, re-energized and back with vigor, for us to collectively pursue our Ministerial Vision “to be the lead contributor to Namibia’s socio-economic development and growth through the provision of world-class infrastructure and services.” Welcome back and be a productive civil servant during 2012!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the onset, let me refresh your minds about the core principles we set in our recently launched Strategic Plan 2012-2017, that will serve as a foundation for all our actions and behaviors for the next five years. You are urged to uphold the key values of our Ministry which are Professionalism, Integrity, Accountability, Transparency, Equity, Innovativeness and Value for Money.
You may agree that these carefully selected core values fall within the ambit of the directive given by the Right Honourable Nahas Angula, Prime Minister, who declared the Year 2012, “A Year of Service and Accountability.” This simply means, we must produce results and account for all our actions. We are expected as a Nation to pool together our resources and invest in sectors that will stimulate economic growth and employment creation. Indeed, the Ministry of Works and Transport is one such key ministry serving a pivotal mission; namely to ensure and regulate the provision of safe, effective and efficient infrastructure and services which are responsive to the socio-economic needs of the public.
Our role to facilitate infrastructure development, as well as to serve as custodian of state assets cannot be over-emphasized. We are expected and must be ready to contribute significantly towards the realization of VISION 2030.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I declared my first year at this Ministry as “A Year of Teamwork”. It was important for us to build a team first; to create a sense of common purpose and belonging; and a sense of patriotism to excel collectively. We are not there yet, however much has been done. Substantial resources have been spent on various programs and activities to create a conducive environment. We have succeeded in crafting a roadmap; however the challenge now is for us to work hard and to own it collectively.
I am pleased to announce that there are visible signs of a team in the making. It is encouraging indeed; henceforth we must reinforce all efforts to embrace this emerging team and to guard cautiously against all divisive and destructive elements.
Having said that, I declare the year 2012 “A Year of Action and Results” in the Ministry of Works and Transport. Let our actions speak louder than our words and plans. I want to see tangible results in all we do.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Remember in my keynote address January 2011, during a similar occasion I highlighted various projects and programs of national interest that were pending. I am concerned that not much progress is reported on the status of these vital national assignments, originating from Cabinet directives!
The restructuring process within the Department of Transport is yet to be finalized for improvements in the level of current service delivery in the transport sector. Let this be a reminder to the relevant Head and support staff to fast-track the restructuring process and to conclude it within reasonable time. Permanent Secretary, I want tangible feedback on this matter before the end of the current financial year.
Similarly, the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) is host to a number of essential projects, programmes and procedures based on its safety and security oversight responsibilities. The finalization of the Civil Aviation Bill is long pending. The speedy implementation of an instrument of that worth will provide the basis for the establishment of the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); the implementation of the DCA’s approved Correction Action Plans on Safety and Security based on ICAO audits; as well as to address the ever growing capacity gaps, crucial to the smooth running of operations at DCA.
Recent occurrences and repetitive development in the public transport industry is another gray-area that requires regular consultations and sector reforms. We must regulate the public transport sector effectively in the best interest of the Namibian people. Again, no progress is visible amidst growing grievances on policy as well operational matters of public concern. I request the Department of Transport to come up with viable solutions to respond to the needs of the industry, and to be implemented successfully. The of leadership within the Directorate of Maritime Affairs is to take up that, it is a regulator in the Inland Water Transport Infrastructure Development and Safety oversight context seriously.
STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES (SOEs)
Director of Ceremonies,
I extended special invitations to all Chief Executive Officers of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works and Transport. This was done on purpose in view of the fact that the contributions of SOEs towards the overall performance of the transport sector is of paramount importance.
The first-time active participation of State-Owned Enterprises during the 2011/2012 Joint Budget Consultations with the National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance did not come by surprise.
Improved co-ordination, prudent management of resources and regular consultations amongst all stakeholders in the transport industry will foster accountability and achievement of national goals. With the adoption of Program- Based Budgeting, the time has come for Boards and Management of SOEs to be held accountable for tax payers money allocated for various programs and projects.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Challenges we are facing within the transport sector are numerous. This relates to 1) Road Rehabilitation, Maintenance of National Roads Network; 2) Road Safety; 3) Railway Network Development, Maintenance and Rehabilitation; 4) Air Transport Services; and 5) Inland Water Transport Infrastructure Development and Safety.
This situation could even worsen in view of the very bleak global economic prospects, deepening fears that the ongoing crisis in the euro zone could replicate the 2008 economic downturns, thus affecting the entire world. It is with this in mind I am calling upon the Accounting Officers of SOEs, to manage their respective budgets with utmost care and prudence. Let us commit ourselves henceforth as strategic stakeholders in the transport industry to do more with fewer resources at hand.
Take the lead to embark upon vigorous external resource mobilization, integrated planning while maintaining realistic target setting that would ease the process of monitoring and evaluating your respective performance in accord with the Governance and Performance Agreements we entered into, already in May 2010. You may agree that there is a need to intensify and concert efforts to strengthen our implementation strategies for maximized output, internally as well as to create client conducive environment.
Comrades, allow me to draw your attention to some utterly disturbing, habitual occurrences in the transport sector, which has detrimental impacts, both at national and international levels. I am embarrassed, whilst having well-capacitated professionals and technical experts we are getting daily reports on lives lost through constant road accidents, derailment or collision of trains and aircraft accidents.
Budgetary constrains is topping the list with never-ending requests for bail-outs, a phenomenon the Namibian Government will no more tolerate.
Another huge concern is the regular delays in flights schedules which is not only having financial, and or socio-economic impacts on the industry, however totally distorts client confidence.
Just imagine, Air Namibia embarked upon a commendable initiative of increasing schedules and frequencies to various destinations, to improve revenue generation. This I support at the onset. Yet they failed to restore and maintain clientele confidence; either they are late, OR never turns up, while clients are waiting unaware. If the Airline ever turns up they are late of reschedule. Tell me how do you want to generate income?
Consultations between Air Namibia and Namibia Airports Company are basically non-existing. Changes in set schedules are not communicated to NAC, resulting in very bad customer service. No secret that I have been observing a not working together between the entities, a situation detriment to the national economy at large. I call upon the relevant Boards and Management to address this situation without any further delay.
When the recent derailments occurred, TransNamib Board and Management for some reason did not see it necessary to inform the Ministry, yet I am expected to go and motivate an urgent request to Cabinet to allocate resources for rail restore works as a matter of emergency!
As a result I am urging the entire leadership and management of State Owned Enterprises under my supervision to be creative in their respective spheres of influence. I am challenging you, to craft new and effective strategies towards concrete solutions to increase operational input.
It is a known fact that as humans we have no or little control over natural disasters such as devastating climatic conditions, which time-and again cause immense destructions to our transport infrastructure and disruption of essential services. These conditions pose enormous challenges but we are capable to be pro-active and to apply mitigation strategies.
Nevertheless, we take pride in ourselves on achievements made in restoring some of the damaged roads and bridges in reasonably short intervals, while we remain determined to continuously strengthen our efforts in the rehabilitation, maintenance and development of core infrastructure to convey people and goods in a safe, timely and efficient manner.
I will fail in my duty as a Minister, if I do not express sincere gratitude on behalf of the people of Namibia, to our development partners for their stanch support and commitment towards improvements within the road-subsector. To date, we have benefitted immensely from the technical support through the Namibia-Germany partnership, facilitated and coordinated via KFW and GIZ. Dr. Prof Semar, Namibia thank you for the technical support and advice to the Ministry of Works and Transport.
Your support has produced tangible results visible in areas of technical institutional capacity building, professional skills development, as well in areas of research and development in roads infrastructure development. I am reliably informed of yet another highly successful Joint Annual Review (JAR), on the road subsector, conducted and concluded last Friday, together with our key development partners and stakeholders. Such action should not be seen in isolation but as a tool important in coordinating road subsector institutional efforts toward reaching our common goal.
Most of you may have noticed that disasters attributable to meteorological causes have been frequent in recent years. In this regard, the contributions of our national meteorological service to mitigate the high adverse impacts of these disasters are crucial. Last year, we issued a seasonal outlook for the 2011/2012 rainy season as early as October which turned to be correct for most parts of the country.
The normal to above normal rainfall that was predicted in fact occurred during January with single day high intensity rainfall in some parts of the country, particularly in the northern regions. This resulted in some flooding incidents that affected some schools and infrastructure. We will continue to monitor the season as it progresses. The intensity of the rains in January was, however, somewhat reduced by the presence of a cyclone in the Mozambique Channel which is likely to move southwestwards and dissipate.
WORKS AND TECHNICAL SERVICES
Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to commend the visible leadership, commitment and progress being made within the Department of Works. We have successfully concluded the process of Decentralising the Maintenance function to the thirteen Regions, and about to move over to the more challenging phase of Devolution. This is encouraging indeed and an achievement worth mention.
Cabinet has approved the creation of Maintenance Units by line Ministries in order to address minor repairs while this Ministry provides technical expertise and advice on all engineering related issues. I am pleased to announce that maintenance units are created within respective line Ministries in line with the Maintenance Management Framework, approved by Cabinet. Henceforth, this Ministry will only be responsible for major maintenance works required.
A major challenge I want to point out is the acute shortage of qualified, experienced technical staff to administer, coordinate and oversee the implementation of capital projects on the development budget of line Ministries/Offices and Agencies with an average up to 700 individual projects running concurrently at a given time.
Yet a sluggish process of filling vacant positions prevails which is of great concern to me. For the Ministry to fulfill its mandate, it requires to deploy a critical mass of expertise in various technical as well as administrative fields to perform. Without this essential human capital the Ministry will remain unable to live up to its promise to the Nation. I urge respective senior managers to improve on the rate the Ministry is currently filling vacancies, because effective deployment and management of existing resources, including those human capital is of extreme significant to enable the Ministry to effectively fulfill its core functions.
The acute shortage of technical skills, professionals in the Department of Works, in particular the Directorate of Capital Projects Management, and the Division of Fixed Assets Management, continues to derail our progress. The dilapidated state of Government houses/ properties is a national concern and calls for creativity and bench-marked strategies.
As of late, the performance of the Ministry of Works and Transport has come under heavy search at various national policy-making levels. Our role as a key contributor in the implementation of the Targeted Intervention Program for Employment Creation and Economic Growth (TIPEEG) can and must never be compromised! I am informed of various efforts underway, to address these challenges, however not much progress is visible. We need a critical mass of professionals on board as a matter of urgency. I therefore urge the Head and support staff within the Department of Works to provide tangible feedback in this regard before the end of the current financial year.
Having said that, I maintain that in terms of the Capital Construction Projects Cycle there is a great need for a speedy review of the entire procurement process in Namibia to streamline our activities. It does not make sense to demarcate the responsibility of advertising tenders, evaluation, adjudication and awarding to successful bidders. Ideally, the entire process must resort under the Tender Board of Namibia. Currently, tenders are advertised by the Tender board, whereas the Ministry of Works and Transport is responsible for evaluation to recommend to Tender Board for adjudication and awarding. There is definitely a mismatch! I suggest, the Tender Board is well-staffed to be responsible for the entire process, while the MWT still maintain its advisory role during the planning and documentation processes.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The ultimate goal is to ensure the Ministry’s functions bear the necessary fruits at all Departmental, Directorate and Divisional levels. I urge you to avoid by all means that our recently launched multi-modal Strategic Plan 2012-2017 is turn in a file thirteen gathering dust in offices.
The Ministerial Strategy was formulated to advance improvements in the areas where we are lacking, to ensure continuity of service excellence in areas where we have excelled. Therefore I am pleased that Strategic Objectives, Key Performance Indicators, Targets, Initiatives, Responsible Units and Cost Estimates form part of the Strategic Plan as well as the Annual Management plans which are well underway to address some of the critical challenges facing the Ministry and the Nation at large.
For some time now, I observed with great concern, the existence to an extent of some ingredients of a certain level of incompetence and under performance by some staff members. This can no more be tolerated! Quite evident are the following:
- Rooted culture of non performance and DON’T CARE ATTITUDE;
- Lack of professionalism
- Lack of interest in work
- Low work ethics
- Lack of discipline
- A highly disturbing culture of arriving late at work!
We are here to render a service to the public. If you are not committed to this course; if you are disrespecting and undermining authority, you better quit before the system deals with you.
No more travelling of senior officials on non-essential trips, workshops and training programs! Here I particularly refer to the members of the Executive Management of the Ministry. Streamline your activities in line with the Strategic Plan. Delegate functional responsibilities as much as you can to relevant divisional heads and focus on issues of strategic value that will have a positive bearing on the achievement of our strategic objectives. This will give you more time to provide leadership and to direct the operations within your respective spheres of influence. In this way we can collectively strive towards cutting expenses related to our S&T subdivisions during the coming financial year. We must deliver tangible results this year.
Remember, the strategy of the Ministry of Works and Transport is based on four equally important pillars upon which all departmental operations will be guided, monitored and measured. Those are: i) Infrastructure Development, ii) Asset Management, iii) Operational Excellence and iv) Regulatory Framework. These are the ultimate guiding themes that we search for as we enter a new phase of vigorous implementation of the Strategic Plan.
I want to urge you, Permanent Secretary, that at management and supervisory levels great emphasis be placed on effective performance management, and determination to achieve the ministerial goals. Let us lead by example, with sincere patriotism and commitment in the implementation of this Strategic Plan. The strategy is a product of our own collective efforts and inputs; hence I do not foresee complications in the execution thereof. We are a strong and capable team to manage any barrier that may confront us from time to time. The commitment we made as a Ministry to enter into Performance Agreements with staff before the end of the current financial year, is still binding. Let us adhere to that noble promise.
I want to single out the Cleaners, Laborers, Messengers, Drivers and Clerical Assistants for their all-time dedication and excellent performance amidst unfavorable working conditions.
I believe you have all heard that the Ministry of Works and Transport is known as one of the cleanest Government Ministry, be it in offices or surroundings. This is indeed an achievement for which we are all indebted to the hardworking Cleaners and Labourers.
I want to encourage that these colleagues be given equal opportunities, whenever there are opportunities to build their capacities and to constantly empower them. However, I urge senior managers to equally focus on demand-driven training activities, contrary to a growing culture of responding to ever mushrooming commercialized training activities randomly. In this way we will better manage our limited resources and put it to good use in a focused fashion.
Remember, the Year 2012 is our year of Action and Results, in so doing we will render Service and give Account on our Actions!
WISHING YOU ALL A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR 2012!
I THANK YOU!