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National Council Audit Committee holds other NC Standing Committee’s to account

The Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Audit, Hon. Lebbius Tobias (fifth from R) with the Chairpersons of all the Standing Committees in the National Council and their Clerks

 

  Story by Rafael Hangula

The Standing Committee on Audit in the National Council (NC) kicked-off its Monitoring and Evaluation Session in Swakopmund to oversee the progress in the execution of the activities of all the Standing Committees for the first two quarters of the 2018/2019 financial year.

As from Tuesday 13 to 16 November 2018, all six Chairpersons of the Committees are set to appear before the Audit Committee and account for their activities as planned in the first two quarters of 2018/19 financial year.

Speaking at the official opening of the Session, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Audit Hon. Lebbius Tobias said that monitoring and evaluation is a valuable tool to support the work of Committees of the National Council.

 

“It helps the Audit Committee and the National Council as an institution to understand what works, what does not and why,” said Tobias.

“As representatives of the people we, members of Parliament of the National Council and by extension the committees that are established to carry out functions the House cannot perform, should also account for what they do with the money allocated to them and this will enhance transparency; the same as we want others to be transparent and account for funds appropriated to carry out their programmes,” he stressed.

He also added that the monies allocated for committee’s activities are taxpayer’s money and thus should be accounted for accordingly, stressing that there is a fiduciary relationship with taxpayers in the use of public funds.

The functions of the Audit Committee as provided for under Rule 161 of the National Council Standing Rules and Orders are amongst others to scrutinize and report to the Council on the work of any Standing Committee or any other body as may be determined by the Council, to encourage Standing Committees to submit reports on their work in the Council at determined intervals.

The committee is also responsible for advising and holding Standing Committees generally accountable on the performance of their work; and to perform any other functions as may be referred to it by the Council amongst others.

Speaking at the same event, the Chairperson of the National Council and the Chairperson of the Women Caucus in the National Council Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams said that she cannot emphasis enough on the importance of the standing committee to the National Council.

“Through reports of standing committees, the National Council has over the years contributed immensely to change in government policy in areas such as, human-wildlife conflict, protection of women and children from rape and gender-based violence, among others.

She further narrated that it was through the public consultation work of standing committees that led the National Council to for example, reject the Regional Councils Amendment Bill, Local Authority Amendment Bill, Citizenship Bill, Public Private Partnership Bill and two Constitutional Amendment bills.

Before commencing with its main activity, the Audit Committee on Monday paid a Courtesy Call to the Office of the Governor of the Erongo region on its mission in the region.

The Audit Committee consists of Hon. Lebbius Tobias who is the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Bernard Sibalatani and Hon. Johannes Muharukua.

Budget Parliamentarian handbook launched

Deputy Minister of Finance, Nangolo Ithete (left), Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (second from left), Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration, Hon. Heather Sibungo (middle), Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Heiner Naumann (third from left) and Economist Mally Likukela during the launch at the National Assembly

 

 

A Parliamentarian’s handbook on the national budgeting process was launched yesterday by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi. The booklet is intended to equip lawmakers with adequate knowledge on Namibia national budget, its development and implementation. The handbook, produced by renowned local economist, Mally Likukela and sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, follows a series of capacity building workshops by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration.

Hon. Katjavivi emphasized the importance of the handbook noting that it would not only empower lawmakers but also serve as a reference point for parliamentarians. The Speaker believes such a booklet is imperative as the ultimate decisions made by lawmakers on the budget have far reaching implications for the country’s economy.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration, Hon. Heather Sibungo shared similar sentiments adding that the budget was an important tool that MPs should fully understand in order to prioritise national spending. “The budget is government’s most important economic policy tool and provides a comprehensive statement of the nation’s spending priorities. We are the representatives of the people and we have the oversight mandate. The budget has to be demystified for MPs to carry out their duties diligently”, noted Sibungo.

NThe Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Heiner Naumann reiterated the agency’s continued support to Parliament adding that the budget handbook would ease communication between parliament and the electorate. “Namibian citizens, through their members of parliament have indeed the right to know how the taxes they pay are being allocated and invested by the government. The FES with its support to the National Assembly of Namibia intends to enhance the capacity of MPs so that they can fulfill their specific role”, said Naumann.

 

Speaker officially opens IDEA Conference on democracy and sustainable development, 27 November 2018

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi officially opening the IDEA Conference today (27/11/18

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi officially opened the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Conference hosted by Namibia, today (27/11/18). The conference, themed “Inclusive democracy for sustainable development” that will run from today (27/11/18) to the 28/11/18 aims to promote integration of marginalized groups, inclusiveness and sustainable development through strengthened democratic processes.

It will include roundtable discussions on pertinent issues such as democratic principles, women’s economic empowerment and inclusion and the mainstreaming of people living with disabilities among many others.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Hon. Katjavivi stated that Namibia attaches great importance to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and that they form part of government development policies. “As a member of the United Nations, we were closely involved in the development of the Millennium Development Goals. Our founding father, Dr. Sam Nujoma was co-chairperson of the MDG Conference. We incorporated the MDGs into our development plans and we are doing the same with the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015”, said the Speaker.

 

According to Hon. Katjavivi there has been progress in meeting development targets in health, education, poverty reduction and the socio economic empowerment of marginalized people. He noted that the education and health sectors gets the lion’s share of the national budget annually while education was free. Hon. Katjavivi further cited the new education bill recently approved by the National Assembly, as one of many important considerations aimed at meeting SDG targets. The bill is currently with the National Council for final approval.

Katjavivi also lauded Namibia’s democracy and governance. “We have held five parliamentary and presidential elections since independence in 1990. All these elections were accepted by international and regional observers as free and fair. Next year we will hold our sixth, proving that Namibia is committed to regular and credible elections”, said Katjavivi.

On governance, Hon. Katjavivi stated that Namibia was ranked fifth on the African continent for transparency by the Mo Ibrahim index and third in Africa by transparency international. Namibia has further made strides in gender equality and representation with an increase from 25 per cent to 47 per cent of women MPs from 2010 to 2015. Women further represent 40 per cent of the national executive and 43 per cent of the public service management.

Former Belgian Prime Minister and current IDEA Secretary General, Yves Leterme who also spoke at the event, bemoaned what he termed emerging isolationist policies of leading democracies in the world adding that such tendencies have the potential to disrupt sustainable development.

“We are faced with challenges of isolationism and the rise of nationalism and populism even in societies that used to be open and so called leading democracies. These nations are pulling out of multilateral agreements, a situation that is not sustainable”, warned Leterme. He implored policy makers to base their dialogue and policy making decisions on evidence noting that democracy was under threat and that more needs to be done.

“This is the time when democracy is challenged. We need to be inclusive and accountable in order to be able to deliver. In the age of so called fake news, we have to base our dialogue, debates and policy making on facts and figures”, cautioned the Secretary General.

IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that supports democratic institutions and processes around the world to develop sustainable, effective and legitimate democracies.

ECN submits report to Speaker, 26 November 2018

CEO of ECN, Theo Mujoro (left), ECN Chairperson, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja (middle) and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (Right)during the submission of the Annual Report

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Chairperson, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja submitted the Commission’s annual report for 2017/18 to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi today (26/11/18) in the company of newly appointed ECN CEO Theo Mujoro. The annual report encompasses the commission’s major activities for the period under review.

This is in accordance with the Electoral Act that requires the submission of an annual report to the Speaker for tabling within 14 days. The report is then handed over to the Head of State.

The Speaker on his part, pledged the report’s distribution and tabling in Parliament before Parliament goes on recess on Thursday (29/11/18).

 

Speaker officially opens IDEA Conference on democracy and sustainable development, 27 November 2018

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi officially opening the IDEA Conference today (27/11/18

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi officially opened the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Conference hosted by Namibia, today (27/11/18). The conference, themed “Inclusive democracy for sustainable development” that will run from today (27/11/18) to the 28/11/18 aims to promote integration of marginalized groups, inclusiveness and sustainable development through strengthened democratic processes.

It will include roundtable discussions on pertinent issues such as democratic principles, women’s economic empowerment and inclusion and the mainstreaming of people living with disabilities among many others.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Hon. Katjavivi stated that Namibia attaches great importance to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and that they form part of government development policies. “As a member of the United Nations, we were closely involved in the development of the Millennium Development Goals. Our founding father, Dr. Sam Nujoma was co-chairperson of the MDG Conference. We incorporated the MDGs into our development plans and we are doing the same with the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015”, said the Speaker.

 

According to Hon. Katjavivi there has been progress in meeting development targets in health, education, poverty reduction and the socio economic empowerment of marginalized people. He noted that the education and health sectors gets the lion’s share of the national budget annually while education was free. Hon. Katjavivi further cited the new education bill recently approved by the National Assembly, as one of many important considerations aimed at meeting SDG targets. The bill is currently with the National Council for final approval.

Katjavivi also lauded Namibia’s democracy and governance. “We have held five parliamentary and presidential elections since independence in 1990. All these elections were accepted by international and regional observers as free and fair. Next year we will hold our sixth, proving that Namibia is committed to regular and credible elections”, said Katjavivi.

On governance, Hon. Katjavivi stated that Namibia was ranked fifth on the African continent for transparency by the Mo Ibrahim index and third in Africa by transparency international. Namibia has further made strides in gender equality and representation with an increase from 25 per cent to 47 per cent of women MPs from 2010 to 2015. Women further represent 40 per cent of the national executive and 43 per cent of the public service management.

Former Belgian Prime Minister and current IDEA Secretary General, Yves Leterme who also spoke at the event, bemoaned what he termed emerging isolationist policies of leading democracies in the world adding that such tendencies have the potential to disrupt sustainable development.

“We are faced with challenges of isolationism and the rise of nationalism and populism even in societies that used to be open and so called leading democracies. These nations are pulling out of multilateral agreements, a situation that is not sustainable”, warned Leterme. He implored policy makers to base their dialogue and policy making decisions on evidence noting that democracy was under threat and that more needs to be done.

“This is the time when democracy is challenged. We need to be inclusive and accountable in order to be able to deliver. In the age of so called fake news, we have to base our dialogue, debates and policy making on facts and figures”, cautioned the Secretary General.

IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that supports democratic institutions and processes around the world to develop sustainable, effective and legitimate democracies.

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