The Office of the Prime Minister’s achievements in 2016

An application for forestry permit (collecting wood or harvesting plantation and trees) has been reduced from 50 days to seven days while an application for a taxi permit has been reduced from 12 months to 30 days.

Major highlights for 2016
The Performance Management System (PMS) has been institutionalized across the Namibian public sector. Cabinet members have signed Performance Agreements with the President. Quarterly review reports submitted to the President based on the Performance Agreements of Ministers signed with the President. The permanent secretaries’ also signed performance agreements with Secretary to Cabinet and quarterly performance reviews were conducted. The Performance Management System was further rolled out to Public Service staff members with over 65 percent of staff members having completed their performance agreements this year compared to 35 percent in the last financial year. In addition an electronic tool for management of PMS has been developed. To this end, ten government offices, ministries, and agencies have been trained on the operationalization of this tool and piloting is expected to commence with five selected government offices, ministries and agencies in January 2017. Another forward thrust pertaining to the effort of continuously improving our public service system is that we embarked on a holistic approach encompassing looking at our processes and procedures. The recruitment process has been re-engineered and reduced from 360 days to 45 days. Organizational development has also been reduced from 31 days to seven days for farming out of government services and from 465 to less than 100 days for approving a major restructuring. An application for forestry permit (collecting wood or harvesting plantation and trees) has been reduced from 50 days to seven days while an application for a taxi permit has been reduced from 12 months to 30 days. Negotiations were also held and agreement reached between government and the recognized unions for the improvement of salaries for public servants.

The major setbacks in 2016
The Office of the Prime Minister is a coordinating office for all government offices, ministries and agencies. Thus challenges in government still remain and they are enormous but government is hard at work to address them and this include:

Persisting poverty: A dedicated Ministry has been set up to deal with this issue and a poverty eradication master plan is about to be finalised to guide the government efforts in this regards. Further, the government has continued to strengthen social safety net programmes to relieve the burden of poverty on the most vulnerable members of the communities.

High Unemployment: Here too, a specific ministry has been tasked to coordinate measures to address the unemployment issue in the country and legislations and systems have been set up to guide government actions in this regard. A skills’ levy has been instituted to support expanded vocational training to our youth to improve their employability. Further, through the Namibia Training Authority, a vocational training and expansion programme has been adopted to broaden access to skills training while a vocational skills plan has been formulated to ensure skills provisions meets the labour market demands.

Inadequate capacity within the Public Service: We are engaged in training through NIPAM and other institutions to improve staff competency and position the public service as an employer of choice by ensuring a conducive working environment for the civil servants and ensuring attractive conditions of service.

Low economic growth and income disparities: Efforts are continuing across the government to accelerate the rate of growth, promote sustainable economic growth and equitable distribution of economic benefits to reduce inequalities among the Namibian people through a range of sectoral policies and infrastructure development.

The recently announced budget cuts by the ministry of finance, have they affected your plans or goals or operations to be affected in the near future?

Economic conditions globally have been tested to the limit. Global growth has slowed drastically, putting downward pressure on commodity prices. This, together with one of the worst droughts in recent history, negatively affected our economic output and consequently fiscal position. The medium term outlook indicates that the revenue for the 2017/2018 financial year is revised downward. However, there is an expected forecast for the revenue to grow by average of 8.3% by 2019/2020 due to stronger fiscal consolidation measures.

Freezing of vacancies in government.
Freezing of posts happened as a consequence of inevitable global, regional and domestic economic slowdown. As a coordinator of government activities, we have learn to do more with less.

How do you think the SOE’s that fall under your ministries have performed during this year?
The only State Owned Enterprise under the auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister is Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM). Notable feats include the appointment of the new NIPAM Governance Council and the appointment of the new Executive Director for the institution with a view to strength the leadership of NIPAM. NIPAM’s various business centers have collectively trained over 2000 in a host of short courses and flagship programmes as per its annual calendar in 2016.

In terms of Human Capital, all staff members at NIPAM have signed performance agreements while the following policies and framework have been developed;
• Health and Safety Policy;
• Succession Planning Policy;
• NIPAM Quality Assurance Framework;
• Other HR policies and regular policy review were also done.

Challenges at NIPAM
NIPAM’s newly approved 5-year strategy addresses the challenges and plot the way forward for the institution.
Saima Shaanika is the PR and Communications officer in the Office of the Prime Minister.

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