By Josef Kefas Sheehama
The performance of SOEs should be marked by organizational effectiveness, efficiencies in their operations and enhanced productive capacity in order for them to play their meaningful role of facilitating the expansion of developmental economies of scale that could contributed to infrastructure development and economic growth and job creation.
It’s dangerous to reduce my citizenship to a shopping trip, where I only fork out cash for things I personally benefit from. That’s not how a society works. We build society through give and take, doing what is in the public interest. Few people let go of an opportunity to criticize the government on various issues. However, it is also important to thank the government for its relentless efforts to take the country forward. Whatever decisions are taken for the welfare of the nation are done by the government. The national interest requires everyone to support. We must not play politics with development. Let’s have respectful debates about what is best for our communities. Let us put aside our political differences and work together as one to continue to build Namibia. The City of Windhoek implemented the Fire Brigade Services Levy between N$ 20.00 to N$30.00 depending the size of land area. These amounts are for properties that are zoned residential except churches and charitable institutions. The properties that are zoned non-residential except churches and charitable institutions are charged between N$ 20.00 and N$ 350.00. These charges are debited against your monthly municipal account statements effective from February 2022. The City of Windhoek (CoW) is seeking to raise at least N$26 million per year. The Windhoek City Police will also start charging for services such as police escorts and assistance during events. The charge is estimate at N$52.50 per hour. The implementation of the new tariffs will come into effect as of 1 January 2023. The City of Windhoek new policy to prohibit home shops from operating in residential areas. Moreover, the FIMA conundrum proposal by NAMFISA.
Furthermore, the proposal of RFA Tollgate. According to the Road Fund Administration (RFA) anticipated a massive increase in revenues. This will translate to about between N$500 million to N$750 million per annum, just by tolling 23 sections of our road network. Also, the deputy director for transport regulation in the Ministry of Transport, says there is a need for formalized regulations to exist in the public transport sector. The Ministry intends to do away with indefinite transport permits. Public transport operators will now be required to convert their existing permits to two-year permits from 1 December to 30 June 2023. There is strong pressure to improve the performance and quality of services delivered by SOEs. Namibia State-Owned Enterprises are facing a wide range of issues, from insolvency, weak accounting systems, lack of innovation, lack of proper business plan, and the corporate governance issues. Why should one pay for a road when they want to move from one place to another. Why should we pay for Fire Brigade levy, City Police escorts, why should permanent public transport permits be converted to expiry dates? When we pay taxes these monies are used for the service which government renders to us all. Taxes are used to pay for these services, whether we make use of all of them or not. This will greatly inconvenience, as this would further increase the cost of living for the already hard-hit Namibians. It is inhuman.
There is no denying the fact that it is a means of generating funds that can be used to maintaining and equally raise government’s revenue. However, we should know that these times are extremely hard and there is a limit to which people can be pushed to spend non-existent money. The SOEs remain an important instrument in any government’s toolbox for societal and public value creation given the right context and collaborating with other stakeholders. SOEs can be catalysts for sustainable value creation for the wider public, and can also build trust by being transparent and accountable through proper communication and reporting of objectives, activities, relationships and performance. Unfortunately, SOEs made a minor contribution to the government revenue in recent years but required significant budget support and pose sizable fiscal risks, as the portfolio lacks financial viability. This is total lack of tools, economic insights and expertise. Being unprepared to develop a corporate sustainability vision, strategy and framework is a monumental risk. Consider social decisions in which the decision-maker’s gains come at the expense of costs inflicted on others.
The Multi perspective of Economic Psychology and Emotional Pain
In his precarious topic, Dr John Steytler, gave the subject and issues surrounding mental health. Therefore, I recommend some of SOE’s to visit Dr John Steytler notes as they add value to the country. Furthermore, a great leader knows what they do well, and more importantly, what they don’t. If you aren’t, be sure to engage with taxpayers that can help you stay on top of things. If creativity is not your strong suit, make sure you have a right-brained wing man. You are human. Accepting this and having the humility to know where you can grow will make all of the difference in your future success and the success of our country. Remember, deciding not to decide until more information is available is also a decision. Before such sweeping changes are brought about through the, there has to be an understanding of the purpose for such changes and whether these are indeed in the interest of affected parties and financial stability.
The appropriate goal of regulation is to enhance, not undermine, societal well-being. In other words, regulation should do more good than harm. Without a counterfactual, it is impossible to know what a more disciplined regulatory environment would have meant for economic growth and well-being. However, evidence suggests that a smarter regulatory approach targeted at problems that cannot be solved by other means could have enormous benefits for current and future generations. The SOE’s further should understand the economic psychology effects and emotional pain.
Don’t pursue economic sustainability at expense of strings a weak economy
SOEs can be catalysts for sustainable value creation for the wider public, and can also build trust by being transparent and accountable through proper communication and reporting of objectives, activities, relationships and performance. It is good to make revenue generation as priority, but avoid overburden the people with unnecessary charges and levies.
The SOE’s needs to change their thinking and strategy to address what has become a monumental crisis. Given the dire socioeconomic effects of joblessness, which include poverty and inequality, the government agencies ought to put in place policy and regulatory measures that support rather than stifle economic recovery. You can’t give what you don’t have. This is not the time to impose additional fees on us; the economy is not doing well and there is a limit to which people can be pushed to spend non-existent money.
My humble advises as an Independent Economic and Business Researcher
The Government should develop an overarching, long-term strategy for SOEs. Government should undertake a process of identifying policy inconsistencies and policy conflicts; clarify the roles of economic regulators; and develop a blueprint to guide regulatory designs. Sanctions for corrupt activities as well as fronting should be supplemented by a register of lawbreaking individuals and companies that are involved in corrupt practices. The common register should be made available to SOEs. The Government should be sufficiently capacitated with appropriate and specialized skills and expertise to successfully manage the SOE’s portfolio. Likewise, the entire SOE including boards and executives must be appropriately skilled in understanding the unique role they play in society. Specialized capacity building interventions for SOEs are developed to position them to fulfil their strategies such as SOE board training, and executives training programmes.
However, without strong vision and committed leadership; an enabling legal environment; effective performance drive and management; appropriate competencies and capacities, an effective and sustainable change will not occur in the SOE environment and the attainability of the objectives of the Developmental State will not be realized.
In conclusion, it will be crucial to adequately design, monitor and evaluate policies to ensure that resources are not wasted.
Therefore, it will be necessary to find out why and address any burning issues so as to create a healthy environment for all stakeholders. For effectiveness, it will be necessary to ensure that all affected parties are involved right from the initial stages.