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Search on for new statistician-general

2014-12-17  Mathias Haufiku

Search on for new statistician-general
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By Mathias Haufiku WINDHOEK – The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) will from February 2015 start a new era without its founding statistician-general Dr John Steytler who in September gave notice he was resigning from the agency. The NSA Board yesterday, when announcing Steytler’s resignation at a press conference, said it tried to convince Steytler to reverse his decision to resign but all efforts were fruitless. Steytler’s last working day at the NSA will be on January 31 2015. “We tried to persuade him to stay but he has other interests he wishes to pursue and this is a decision he made consciously. But we [NSA Board and Steytler] are on good terms and we extensively talked about this issue from the time we received his resignation letter,” said NSA Board Chairperson Florette Nakusera. Nakusera said Steytler’s decision to resign was a personal one, and despite failing to convince him to rethink his decision, lauded him for “broadening NSA’s strategic horizons, including securing substantial support from development partners and signing memoranda of understanding with key stakeholders.” She said Steytler, who was appointed in 2012, leaves behind a functional system and an in-shape NSA to ensure the state gency continues to run smoothly. “There is no doubt that with Dr John Steytler at the helm, the NSA made great strides. The agency was established as an independent statistical authority that produces and disseminates relevant, quality and timely statistics that are fit for purpose. NSA has established itself as a reputable institution and has proven that it can provide the statistical information needed for evidence-based policy decisions. This was achieved because Dr John Steytler is an expert in his field and led the agency in a manner that ensured statistical outputs are par excellence,” said Nakusera. “He gave us four months’ notice so one cannot say this is a sudden departure, but we could not announce it earlier because of the processes we had to carry out in terms of negotiations that took some time,” she said. “We are busy identifying someone to act for six months as statistician-general,” said Nakusera, adding that during that process NSA will be on the hunt for Steytler’s permanent successor. Currently the chairperson of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), Steytler was appointed as statistician-general in 2012 when the National Planning Commission decided that the NSA should replace the Bureau of Statistics as the institution that will collect, process and coordinate the country’s official statistics. Steytler’s profile indicates he was a chief economist at Bank of Namibia (BoN) and he also served time at Bank Windhoek as its in-house economist. He also served in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the Directorate of Cooperative Development before joining the Ministry of Trade and Industry as chief economist. Speculation is rife Steytler could succeed National Planning Commission (NPC) Director-General Tom Alweendo who is heading to parliament next year. Others also claim Steytler’s resignation amplifies speculation he is one of those whom President-Elect Dr Hage Geingob is keeping a hawk’s eye on when he selects the eight people he would like to join the National Assembly as presidential appointees.
2014-12-17  Mathias Haufiku

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