The chairperson of the Public Enterprises CEO Forum, Fluksman Samuel, has lamented the poor working relationships between some executives and boards of public enterprises, saying the government needs to appoint competent individuals.
He made the statement at the opening of the second public enterprises’ conference at a resort on Wednesday, observing that the government, the board, and the executive management should band together to ensure a professional and cordial working relationship.
“I would like to state that all is not well in the public enterprises’ sector. We do share our moments of joy and sorrow. Of particular concern are the ongoing reports of poor working relations between some boards and their respective accounting officers,” Samuel said.
He noted that there are “pockets of boards and their respective chief executive officers who do not see eye to eye.”
“It is unfortunate that some discussions in corporate boardrooms are characterised by antagonism, tension, conflict and an endless tug of war. This state of affairs has the potential to derail progress in the public enterprises’ sector,” said Samuel, who is CEO of the Lüderitz Waterfront.
In his address to the top management of public enterprises at the beginning of their three-day conference, he emphasised the importance of a good relationship between the board of directors and the accounting officers.
“I am pleased to note that this matter forms part of the topics to be discussed at this conference. It is hoped that we will reflect deeply, look at the underlying causes of poor working relationships, and come up with remedial actions,” he added.
Meanwhile, Samuel called on the government “to appoint men and women of substance” who are “fit and proper” to boards of public enterprises.
He further called on the government to assume an ‘activist role’ in the induction phase of newly-appointed boards before the beginning of their oversight functions.
“It is critical that the appointing authority spells out clearly the roles and responsibilities of public enterprises’ boards, including providing strategic leadership and creating a favourable environment for public institutions to achieve their respective mandates,” he continued.
Finance and Public Enterprises Minister Iipumbu Shiimi, whose ministry facilitates the appointment of most boards, said his ministry is working to create better governance in public enterprises.
He noted that they have started strengthening the recruitment process to get the best talent on the boards of public enterprises.
“There is a recruitment system in place, but it does not always yield good results,” Shiimi said, adding that the ministry is building capacity. -Nampa