• February 20th, 2020

Agribusdev refutes allegations 

WINDHOEK - Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev), Managing Director, Petrus Uugwanga, this week refuted allegations that he has failed to convene a meeting aimed at addressing the parastatal’s out-dated board of directors.

New Era recently reported that the agency has been operating without a valid board since last year. The story emanated from a shareholder meeting memo seen by New Era. The meeting was attended by Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste; his deputy Veikko Nekundi; Executive Director, Annascy Mwanyangapo; and her deputy Louise Shixwameni.
According to the memo, Nekundi informed the meeting that Uugwanga has failed to call for a meeting to address “this very serious matter”.

However, Uugwanga, in a statement, denied this allegation. “It is correct, as reported, that the company operated without a board since 8 November 2018, but it is a misrepresentation for anyone to insinuate that I have failed to convene the board meeting.” 

He said the parastatal has always complied with governance statutory requirements, including the hosting of board meetings. However, it is virtually impossible in the context of his duties and authority to convene a board meeting when the board’s term of office has virtually expired.

“Such a board meeting will be deemed illegal and null and void,” he said.
He said at the parastatal board’s meeting in September last year, he performed his administrative functions to notify the authorities of the expiry date [of the board’s term], which was well advanced of the expiry date. “Over and above that, I have made all the appropriate notifications to the relevant authorities about the board term and there are records to this effect,” he said. 

He added that going forward, once the board is dully consulted, it would be the duty of the chairperson of the board to call the board meetings and he will perform his duties of facilitating the meeting and providing the necessary administrative support, in line with the established rules and guidelines.

“I am of the opinion that for improved governance, one would expect those departments or offices entrusted with monitoring and evaluation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to have records of board terms or else the relevance of those units and offices shall be questioned,” he said.

“They should be able to notify their respective ministry to act before the board’s term of office expires,” he concluded.
Agribusdev, as an agency, manages the country’s 11 green schemes and has been, according to media reports, underfunded for the last five years, leading to work at most projects at the green schemes screeching to a halt. 

The agriculture ministry earlier this year announced that it would lease out 7 of its 11 green schemes to the private sector after failing to sustain operations.

According to media reports, the agency received N$90 million between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 budget years.

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2019-05-10 08:58:49 | 9 months ago

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