By Staff Reporter
The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) is meant to be a targeted action plan to accelerate development in clearly defined priority areas, which was to lay the basis for attaining prosperity in Namibia. The Plan was not intended to replace, but rather to complement the long-term goal of the National Development Plans [NDP] and Vision 2030.
The Patriot took a look at its achievements this week.
In 2016, the Government promised that the Harambee Prosperity Plan will introduce an element of flexibility to the rigid Namibian planning system by fast-tracking development in areas where progress is insufficient. A further aim was to incorporate new development opportunities and to address challenges that have emerged after the formulation of NDPs, but has there been progress?
Consisting of the five pillars; effective governance, economic advancement, social progression, infrastructure development and international relations and cooperation, it has come to light that little to no progress has been made in making the Harambee dream a reality. In everything that President Hage Geingob said in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in April of this year, he failed to capture the present worry of the nation, the plummeting economy, while the SONA failed to inspire hope amid growing concerns.
Chapter three of the HPP is titled ‘effective governance and service delivery’ with sub-pillars titled accountability, transparency and improved performance and service, and it is against this background that The Patriot this week engaged Mr I-Ben N Nashandi, Executive Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, seeking clarity on the actual progress made with the HPP and matters of significance to the country.
The target for the development of a performance reward scheme for OMA’s was set for the first year of HHP. The Patriot asked Nashandi how far government was with this target. OPM was tasked during this first year of Harambee develop a performance reward scheme for OMAs as at the time there was no direct link between high performance and reward.
Pending the outcome, recommendations deemed feasible would have been implemented in subsequent years of the Harambee period. “The current Performance Management Policy for the Public Service stipulates that ‘As PMS matures, it may provide for both monetary reward and career promotion’. However, due to budgetary constraints, the monetary reward is not implemented,” Nashandi responded.
“We have finalised developing a Public Service Innovation Policy, to also promote innovation in public service, and to recognise those innovative talents through various recognition systems.
Plans are underway to link performance to staff mobility in the amendments of the Public Service Act, 1995.”
In 2016 an annual citizen satisfaction survey was to have kicked off. To date, no results have been made public.
Last year Cabinet approved that the citizen satisfaction survey “be carried out every second year, rather than annually, to allow proper planning and execution of the survey as well as sufficient time for implementation of remedial action steps before another survey is carried out.” The Patriot requested the results of the survey in terms of government turnaround times and which ministry is rated as the best in terms how they tend to citizens, and which is rated as the worst? While confirming that the survey was indeed conducted, the ED neglected to elaborate on the scales of how the ministries were rated.
“The Citizen Satisfaction Survey was conducted in 2017 in nine (9) Offices/Ministries/Agencies (OMAs), fourteen (14) Regional Councils (RC) and seven (7) State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). In total 30 institutions were surveyed, and a report was submitted to Cabinet in October 2018. All the surveyed institutions developed Remedial Action Plans to address the shortfall identified. The progress to address
issues identified are monitored with those OMAs, RC and SOEs,” he said. OPM is tasked to ensure the performance agreements of ‘all Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries’ are signed off within a month of each fiscal year.
The Patriot asked how the performance of government has been rated, in view of the set target. Further, when was the last quarter in which such an assessment was conducted for OMA’s?
Without providing evidence, Nashandi responded that “the performance of Government is very good, as measured by the assessment review. Such assessment reviews are conducted quarterly, and the last review was for the quarter ending 30 September 2019, whereby all staff submit their reviews to their supervisors.”
Economist at Standard Bank Namibia, Naufiku Hamunime was previously quoted in The Patriot as saying that while Namibia was overall ranked 106th out of 190 countries for ease of doing business, the country was ranked 172nd out of 190 countries for starting a business and 174th out of 190 countries when it comes to registering properties.
According to tradingeconomics.com Namibia is currently rated 104th out of 190 countries.
A 2017 review of the HPP stated that Namibia minimally overshot its debt to GDP target by 7 percentage points, while government maintained that the progress of the plan remains on track.
However, what is the level of coherence between ministerial annual work plans and HPP targets?
Says Nashandi, “Government planning framework starts with the alignment of National Development Plan to the Vision 2030.
The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) is aligned to the NDP5. All OMA’s 5 years Strategic Plans are aligned to the NDP5 and HPP targets.
Every year, each OMAs draw up their Annual Plans based on the Strategic Plan target for that specific year. There is alignment of Ministerial work plans to the Harambee targets.
The account of how the Ministries have performed are done on a quarterly basis through quarterly review report as explained above. At end of the financial year, an annual review is done.”
OPM has been mandated to pressure test targets assigned to ministries. “Execution under Harambee will be different, because focus of implementation will be on accountability and will be linked to the overall effectiveness of Government,” says Chapter 8 of the HPP.
“The OPM will furthermore ensure that the bulk of activities in the performance agreements of Ministers are directed to core responsibilities,” it continues.
How often though are these pressure tests conducted and what were the results?
“The Performance Management System (PMS) timeline indicates that at the end of each quarter, OMAs provide reports to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on progress made on the set targets for that specific quarter and annually in their Annual Plan.
The Office is in the process of developing an Annual Plan performance monitoring tool to make it user friendly for OMAs to carry out the review.
For now, customized spreadsheets are used, to which targets are measured against actual results.
At the end of each quarter, the one-on-one performance review meetings are held between each ED and Secretary to Cabinet (SC).
At these sessions, EDs are requested to bring along sources of evidence to prove their performance for the quarter. Ministers quarterly performance reports are submitted to the Prime Minister.
As for Q1 of 2019/20 FY (April-June 2019) the average performance score of ED’s was 75,09% and the Ministers stood at 87,26%, based on set targets for that quarter only,” Nashandi said.
“This Plan is a product of wide consultation which has engendered a sense of collective ownership in the war against poverty.
I am grateful for the overwhelming support and input from Namibians of all walks of life, including OMA’s and key stakeholders who have provided my Office with timeous and critical input which has informed the goals, targets and actions.”
Could it be deduced that, although the ED was indulgent and responded to all the questions posed by this publication, it is clear that Harambee is a long way from reaching the targets that it set for itself?