SWAKOPMUND - The Ministry of Mines and Energy’s state of the art, environmental friendly regional office building at Swakopmund, which was constructed at the cost of N$42.2 million has not been officially inaugurated since it’s completion in 2016.
An investigation revealed that only six permanent employees, including two cleaners, are currently employed at the Erongo regional office, which can house about 28 employees. This was confirmed by Andreas Simon, the ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer. In response to questions regarding the current status of the building, it was explained that the reason why only six employees are presently employed is because “the structure of the ministry was reviewed before the completion of the building, to achieve the objectives of decentralisation. However, the ministry could not fill the positions earmarked for the Swakopmund office as government introduced a new reform on the recruitment process.” This reform has put limitations on the filling of vacant positions in all government institutions and is to date pending, awaiting the green light from the Public Service Commission.
One geoscientist, one administrative officer, two diamond inspectors and two cleaners are currently running the show at the regional office. The response letter, signed and approved by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Simeon Negumbo, did not provide any explanation on why the premises is not officially inaugurated yet, only noting that “the ministry is planning to officially inaugurate the building during the 2019/20120 financial year. The average monthly expenditure to maintain the building is about N$17 000, which accounts for roughly N$200 000 per year.
According to Simon, the building is earmarked to host all the ministry’s units with activities in the Erongo region, with the idea to decentralise some services of the ministry, as per the State Decentralisation Policy, which aims to bring government services closer to the people.
A question raised, regarding the fact that the premises is reportedly also established to serve as a research centre, documenting all aspects of the local environment also went unanswered. The reporter wanted to know if any research is currently ongoing at the centre and if yes, what exactly the research involves.
One of the main features of the building is the large wind turbines (imported from the United States of America) on its roof, supported by thin-film solar panels. It generates around 68kW power using the solar panels and wind turbines, which is fed back into the grid. The green building is installed with a Building Monitor System which must record all data in order to ensure that the installations are cost-effective or not, it was noted.
It was further remarked that the ministry is currently exploring possible measures to utilise the building fully, as the application for a green rating can only be determined when the building is fully utilised and also that the ministry is in consultation with a number of line ministries to host their staff at the “green building”.
Meanwhile, it was observed that the wind turbines on the roof of the premises have not been functioning for more than one month.
The building was designed by Karen Miller Architects on request of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
New Era Reporter
2018-12-13 10:02:45 5 months ago