Saturday 15 May 2021
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Idle RCC workers bleed taxpayers

…as Treasury spends N$70m on salaries


Government’s lax attitude towards shutting down the embattled Road Contractor Company(RCC) has cost taxpayers at least N$70 million in salaries for the company’s workers who currently have no gainful employment.
Since Cabinet decided to place RCC on judicial management in September 2017, Treasury took over the mandate to settle the monthly N$7 million salary bill of the company.
It is still unclear when the judicial management process will be completed as Government is currently in two minds-whether to close the company or to recapitalise it.
Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein referred this publication to the two line ministries when questioned on the matter.
The Ministry of Works and Transport’s permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann refused to comment on the matter.
Critics have accused government of standing idle while money that could have been used to cater for other purposes such as education and health is being spent to pay people who are not doing anything.
“It is not right to continue having these people sitting idly by while we desperately need that money for other needs.
There is absolutely no good policy reason to use taxpayer funds to pay over 400 people to just be sitting around at a desk,” the source lamented.
“How can government’s decision-making take this much time regarding RCC employees who are being paid for doing little, if anything, and the accounts and court challenges are increasing,” said a Treasury insider.
The insider added: “The cost of slow or non-decision making by government will be this country’s downfall.
Our politicians are quick to take bad decisions but good decisions such as this one are left hanging and it is costing the country dearly.”
Should government decide to close RCC, the country’s employment figures could swell by at least 450 people.
Government has not disputed the views that RCC should be shut, its main concern is what to do with the employees.
Sources privy to the operations of the RCC say while the management of the company is keen to continue with the entity as an independent institution, it is failing to convince the shareholder how the state owned entity-which has been surviving on Government bailouts-will turn its fortunes from loss-making to profitability.
Some observers feel RCC’s operations can easily be absorbed by RA and RFA, but cautioned that a feasible plan would have to be hatched to find an amicable way of absorbing the staff that is employed by RCC into the other two parastatals.
Public Enterprises minister Leon Jooste said last year the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities decided to seek placement of RCC under judicial management because of the company’s precarious financial situation and debts just under N$1 billion.
The company’s assets have an estimated value of N$300 million.The process is still subject to parliamentary endorsement and subsequently the Master of the High Court.
RCC’s board chairman Orben Sibeya was not availible for comment when contacted yesterday.

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