WINDHOEK – Minister of Urban and Rural Development Peya Mushelenga has advised chief regional officers (CROs) to resist the temptation of engaging in corrupt practices and guard against wasteful expenditures and abuse of state resources.
He issued the warning here last week when he opened a two-day Second Consultative Forum on Decentralisation.
“It is advisable for all of you to demonstrate true servant-hood in the performance of our duties by putting public interest above personal interest,” Mushelenga said.
The minister also called on CROs to be responsive to the needs of local communities by providing timely and quality services.
“There is need to nurture a culture of mutual cooperation and communication between regional councils and decentralising line ministries through defined official channels and mechanisms,” Mushelenga said.
He said decentralisation is a complex government reform and, as such, it is expected that some challenges will be encountered along the government’s implementation journey.
However, he said, such challenges should not be construed as an impossibility, but rather as lessons and opportunities “upon which we must build to refine government’s decentralisation implementation approach and systems”.
“I am encouraged to note that the purpose of this consultative workshop is to reflect on the progress we have made and the challenges being encountered, and most importantly, to share ideas and devise strategies on how to overcome the challenges,” he said.
Mushelenga says he believes that participants are all aware of the state of the economy as well as the prevailing severe drought, which resulted in President Hage Geingob declaring the state of emergency.
“The combination of these two factors has put immense pressure on government’s fiscal capacity to address the ever-increasing demands and needs of citizens as well as on performance of its decentralised function,” he said.
However, he added that the government’s obligation towards improvement of the general welfare of the Namibian society remains its first priority.
Therefore, he said, resources and more so, closer collaboration between central government and sub-national governments should be harnessed to ensure optimal utilisation of the resources at government disposal and that no Namibian should perish due to the drought.
Furthermore, Mushelenga says he is aware that there are some ministries with functions earmarked for decentralisation, but they have not yet decentralised such functions for various reasons.
“I would like to call upon those ministries to accelerate the decentralisation plans in order to give effect and meaning to our national policy of decentralisation,” he said.
Also, Mushelenga said: “As we take stock and reflect on the journey we have walked thus far, let our pre-occupation and mindset be about how we have walked thus far, let our pre-occupation and mindset be about how we should improve and consolidate the gains achieved thus far.”
In the same spirit, he called upon line ministries and regional councils to resolve to make decentralisation a success for the common good of citizens, and particularly rural communities.
2019-07-30 07:29:06 20 days ago