Geingob keeps to promise… trims the executive in cost-cutting exercise
President Hage Geingob has done away with several ministerial positions in a reshaped executive aimed at cutting costs. The new cabinet will include 19 ministries, while two ministers will serve under the Presidency. Geingob yesterday said he was trimming the structure to achieve better alignment among sectors.
“In making these changes, I have been mindful of the need to optimise the structure of government to give fresh impetus to our plans for economic recovery and growth, while balancing the need for renewal and continuity,” he said.
As part of the new changes, Geingob realigned the ministry of safety into home affairs and immigration portfolio, while land reform and the ministry of agriculture and water have been merged.
The president also announced the merging of the gender, poverty eradication and social welfare ministries, which will now fall under the Presidency in the Office the Vice President. A minister in the Presidency will now oversee parliamentary affairs, while he or she will also act as the interface between regional governors and the president.
Geingob also announced that the Namibia Investment Centre has been elevated to the Presidency and will now be known as the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board. The board will also promote the interest of small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
“The head of the entity will be appointed by the president. The board is mandated to promote a conducive business environment and market Namibia as a favourable investment destination,” he said. The Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs has been merged to include the veterans’ affairs component. The forestry department, which was formerly with the agriculture and water ministry, has now been merged with environment and tourism, while the public enterprises ministry will be phased out in 2025 as part of a recommendation made by the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy, which made its findings public last week. The attorney general will no longer be part of parliament, Geingob announced yesterday.
“The attorney general will be a professional person and not a member of parliament but will be invited to Cabinet. The attorney general serves as the principal legal adviser to the president and government, exercising oversight responsibility for the prosecutor general and serving as a repository of all agreements signed and/or ratified by Namibia.”
Geingob, who is expected to be sworn-in as head of state on Saturday, also announced that governors will no longer have advisors. The new Cabinet, deputy ministers and advisors are also expected to be named on Saturday.
“I will, in due course, announce the appointment of the vice president, prime minister and the deputy prime minister. After being sworn-in on 21 March 2020, I will then announce appointment of Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.”
Leader of the official opposition McHenry Venaani praised Geingob for re-merging the home affairs ministry with that of safety and security. He was also glad to see the merging of agriculture and land ministries.
“I applaud President Geingob for the noble idea of merging these institutions – which, anyway, was our idea,” Venaani said. However, Venaani said Geingob failed by not abolishing either the position of the vice president or the prime minister, saying the country would be better with only one of them.
“When you look at our neighbours South Africa, they only have a vice president, not prime minister position – and their position is bigger than ours,” he said.
He also criticised Geingob for not merging the ministry of education with that of higher education.
2020-03-17 07:33:48 | 3 months ago