Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa is worried at the perpetual poor performance of the ministry’s capital projects, which for the second year running now, have recorded very little success. “The progress of implementation of our capital projects remains worrisome while the need for expansion of existing infrastructure and construction of new education physical facilities is on the increase. Collaboration and response with key stakeholders such as the regional councils and the Ministry of Works and Transport remain shaky,” she said during her annual address to ministerial staff members on Friday. Hanse-Himarwa noted it is therefore important for the ministry to streamline its project management mechanisms, and adopt better project management attitudes and practices to turnaround the current performance. She added as the ministry continues to battle with limited financial allocations from treasury, they however, cannot afford to underperform on this aspect. The minister thus strongly urged project managers and heads of divisions and directorates concerned to ensure efficiency and timeliness in the delivery of physical education facilities required to enhance the teaching and learning environment. Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that staff members needed to be mindful of funds available across all functional units and ensure that they plan for activities that fit within their means and at the same time ensure prudence and diligence in the use of what is allocated to each department. “I am mentioning this because I have noticed that in our quarterly review reports for the current year as submitted by the various units, you have cited budgetary constraints as the reasons for underperformance,” she remarked. Further, she said adherence to the administrative directive issued on February 1 by the Prime Minister to cut costs should be ensured at all levels. She also expressed concern with regards to the implementation of the Performance Management System (PMS), in that, the majority of the staff did not sign their performance agreements and those who did, failed to ensure the systematic review of such agreements as required by the PMS framework. The minister therefore directed that for the 2018/19 business year, all staff members -from the executive to operational and support staff- should ensure full compliance to the PMS framework. Moreover, she said many vacancies could not be filled due to non-funding have meant that implementation processes have been slow and may have negatively affected performance. She said it was therefore important that they consider redeployment of staff members based on their comparative and competitive advantages. Hanswe-Himarwa urged managers and supervisors to ensure that negligence and complacency in the execution of assigned tasks and responsibilities, immoral behaviour such as theft, late coming, insubordination, and non-compliance to established work ethics and corporate values, should be corrected and that staff time and efforts are well managed and supported. She cautioned all staff to be vigilant and to report any suspicious actions so as to arrest the trend of ghost workers. Last year, the police carried out an investigation on ghost teachers, and it was successfully conducted in some regions namely, Kavango East and West, and Zambezi. The investigation uncovered damning evidence regarding the embezzlement of state funds by some employees of the ministry. “I must say the release of the reports culminated in heated public debates about the effectiveness of our internal controls. I want to inform you that we have instated the relevant disciplinary measures against such staff members and at the same time opened criminal cases against the alleged offenders. Our investigation has expanded to the remaining regions and it is ongoing,” concluded Hanse-Himarwa.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-12 09:27:19 9 months ago