Saturday 17 April 2021
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Govt does not know what it owns

An asset register which is supposed to document assets owned by the government including flats, houses, land and motor vehicles is yet to be completed a year later after being requested by the Works and Transport ministry. In fact, the country has not had a harmonised asset register since independence.
As it stands, government does not know how many houses, vehicles, land and down to telephone lines it has, all due to an unfinished document which would put government in a better position to manage its assets.
The loophole in the system has recorded several complaints from top leadership on how government flats are either abandoned or accommodating persons who do not qualify for government housing.
The media continues to expose highly-paid public servants who are either accommodated in government flats or renting out state accommodation for personal gain without the knowledge of the authorities while many have become ghost houses occupied by street kids when the winters and rains fall.
Over the years, government’s failure to make use of all its unoccupied houses in Windhoek attracted homeless people, some of whom were found selling drugs during police operations.
The housing sub-division is responsible for providing official accommodation to civil servants and to control, manage and allocate official quarters in line with the provision of official quarters.
As such, the sub-division controls occupancy and manages the allocation of quarters on a merit basis as per recommendations of the Central Housing Committee, Regional and Sub-Regional Committees. It also ensures that rental charges, both nominal and economical, as determined by the ministry are paid by the tenant timeously to the State so that income is generated for such fixed properties.
The ministry is further compelled to ensure that maintenance of such properties takes place, when necessary, in order to keep up the value of such properties.
The Patriot has it on good authority that on a number of times the ministry was caught unawares when it comes to government housing.
This document contains one of John Mutorwa’s orders to the ministry when he was appointed last year in February, but it is yet to be finalised.
The Patriot is in the know that progress as far as the Fixed Assets Management has been stagnant in reporting back to government. The topic has featured in management meetings, being recorded as still pending only to submit unsatisfactory work early this year.
During a management meeting held on 29 January, the Executive Director of the ministry Willem Goeiemann expressed his disappointment on the report of the flats stating that the report was not properly done, thus the Ministry has forwarded its inputs to the consultant.
A source in the ministry told this publication that several assets including houses are being misused while cars have been privatised.
“There are people who are renting out government houses because there is simply no one to watch over these assets. Some cars have been lost and because there are no records, no one is brought to book.
At the moment, the process is taking long because people are cleaning up to make sure that nothing leads to them,” said the source.
Government accommodation is a rent haven for civil servants who have it easy paying their monthly fees. Monthly fees between N$200 and N$1000, depending on the type accommodation and position, is all they have to fork out.
It seems asset mismanagement has become the order of the day at the ministry, but it is difficult to account when there are no concrete records.
When put to Willem Goeiemann, the ministry’s Executive Director highlighted that although the country has failed to have an asset register since independence, the ministry is on course to completing the records.
“We are still busy. It is not an easy thing to do given the limited resources.
I had to send people all over the 14 regions to verify. We have decided to start with government flats and now we are busy with government houses,” said Goeiemann adding that the ministry started with Windhoek and is in a process of verifying submissions from the regions.
“Once we have all these assets together, then we can have a government asset register.
We have failed for 29 years but we are trying now to get it together. We are on the right trajectory and we have assembles of an assets register so we are trying to complete it.”
Goeiemann refused to share information on the consultant appointed for the registration of flats and the cost paid to the service provider, but confirmed that there was indeed a consultant.
“They are finished and they have given me the report. We just need to look at it again.
We will then have to make the recommendations to cabinet. The idea is to outsource the maintenance and management of these flats,” he said.
In the past, Goeiemann has raised concerns with vehicles (government fleet) assigned to departments/directorates, having urged all managers to control the fleet and that staff/officials should park Government vehicles after working hours at 17h00.

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