Query: In response to a news article with the headline, “ICT Staff Falsify Overtime, S&T Claims” as reported in The Namibian newspaper dated Thursday, 19 July 2018
Response: The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has noted with great concern the report in The Namibian newspaper in which it was alleged some staff members were paid overtime and subsistence and travel allowances that they were not entitled to.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology would like to state we have responded sufficiently to the Office of the Auditor-General request during the audit process of the 2016/2017 financial year. Once the audit process was done as per norm, the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) requested the MICT to provide clarity and submit supporting documents regarding their findings. The Ministry of Information in fact submitted all the outstanding supporting documents to the Office of the Auditor-General and subsequently all discrepancies that were identified in their draft report were rectified and implemented as per recommendation from the Auditor-General’s Office.
In November 2017, the AG office gave MICT the first draft with request for supporting documents and further information. MICT responded in December 2017 with all the requested documents and information as per the OAG request. However, in February 2018, the OAG requested for the same information which was re-submitted to them in March 2018.
In April 2018, the OAG informed the ministry that adjustments were made to the report, however, these adjustments are not reflected in the MICT 2016/2017 Audit report that was tabled in the National Assembly and is referred to in this article, although they confirm to the ministry in writing that the changes will be effected.
Furthermore, the article stated one staff member who claimed to have worked overtime for five hours was paid overtime for 25 hours, resulting in an overpayment not refunded to the ministry.
This particular incident was an omission from Human Resources (HR) department and this matter was rectified, as the staff member in question paid back the difference and supporting documents to that effect were submitted to the Office of the Auditor-General in December 2017.
It is very important to note that overtime claim forms that are not accompanied by any supporting documents (submission, overtime attendance register) are not processed and paid out.
Additionally, no staff member is allowed to work for more than 10 hours without the exemption of the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation.
However, it should also be noted that MICT has various job categories that require for one to perform overtime duties past the prescribed 10 hours non-stop.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has 14 Engineering Technicians stationed in all the 14 regional offices who in some instances find themselves having to maintain and provide the Sound System from 06h00 to 20h00, and depending on the nature of the event, taking a break is simply not possible until such a time that the number of Engineering Technicians is increased for each region to have at least two technicians who can then work on a rotational basis. An engineering technician cannot leave their equipment unattended to take a break of one hour this is unfortunate but it is the nature of their work. The current financial situation does not allow for the employment of additional Engineering Technicians.
Additionally, another category of employees who are required to work odd hours are the Information and Media officers who normally have to attend to National and Ad-hoc events which requires them to work in excess of the prescribed 10 hours. This information was submitted to the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), but were not incorporated in the said report.
It is very important to note the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation granted a special exemption to Engineering Technicians and Drivers to work more than the prescribed hours.
Furthermore, the MICT did not overspend its budget as stated in the article, however, certain line votes were overspent but with proper approval from Treasury to virement funds to those line items to offset such expenditure.
In the light of the above, the ministry would like to inform the public that we have done everything within our power to adhere to the request from the Office of the Auditor General and will continue to maintain our accountability and transparency.
Query: Minister of ICT, what is happening to your NamZim? There’s no editor for months, just an acting editor? They claim the paper is distributed across the SADC region while the Southern Times doesn’t go to the SADC region. So they are deceiving us by saying we should place adverts that will be seen across SADC. Please sort the matter out.
Response: In response to the SMS published in the Namibian Newspaper’s SMS column on the 11th of July 2018; The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology would like to notify the Southern Times readers that it is currently distributed in Namibia and Zimbabwe. The newspaper is edited by the Editor Mr. I. Gore who is based in Zimbabwe while the editorial office in Namibia is run by the Deputy Editor Mr. Tileni Mongudhi. The newspaper has been distributing in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Zambia but due to the high distribution costs it has stopped four months ago, however it is in the process of evaluating these distribution channels to only the main cities in those countries. The Southern Times Newspaper is also in the process of negotiating distribution channels with the governments of the SADC region so as to make operations more inclusive and cost effective. The newspaper is currently available in all the SADC countries through their very vibrant digital platforms. Herman Kangootui, Chief Information Officer, Media Liaison Services, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, E-mail Address: email@example.com New Era Reporter
2018-07-24 09:34:54 | 2 years ago