Notable achievements under this goal included the public disclosure of Performance Agreements of Public Office Bearers; the rollout of e-governance functions; implementation of the 2015 Public Procurement Act; and declaration of assets and health status by His Excellency the President and First Lady and assets & interests by Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Press freedom has firm hold in Namibia and is protected by the Constitution. The media has free access to the judicial system for recourse should access to information be denied or their freedoms attacked. Transparency is further strengthened through the Open-Door Media policy of the Presidency. Namibia is ranked 1st in Africa and 23rd globally on the Press Freedom Index and Government remains committed to championing and upholding media freedoms during HPPII. In this regard, the enactment of the Access to Information law amongst others, will be an important component in ensuring accountability and transparency in the governance system. Notwithstanding the absence of access to information law, Namibia is rated as having “real freedom” by Reporters Without Borders, 2020.
The Government position with respect to corruption has been clearly demonstrated during HPPI with enactment of enabling laws and regulations, to increase transparency in the public sector procurement system, the cancellation of a number of tenders alleged to have been awarded unprocedurally and the public declaration of assets and interests by the Head of State and the First Lady. It was also during this period, that Government adopted the first National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan. The NACS Strategy contained important elements aimed at strengthening the national anti-corruption response and includes the following:
The implementation of the first NACS came to an end in the 2019/2020 financial year where a performance evaluation was conducted and work commenced to develop the second national strategy. The development and speedy approval of the second National Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan will be a key priority during HPPII. Declaration of assets and interests by public office bearers is vital for accountability and transparency and it is commendable that the President and the First Lady led this activity, followed by Public Office Bearers and Management Cadre. At the same time, Members of Parliament (MPs) submitted their asset income declarations to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council, respectively, while Accounting Officers declared their assets and income to the Secretary to Cabinet. For greater transparency, the continued annual declaration of assets and interests is a good practice and should be entrenched. A key lesson from HPPI is the need to modify the existing form, in order to ensure comprehensive declarations. This will assist in improving the broader anti-corruption system and complement measures to improve transparency. OMAs and PEs are to adhere fully to the Procurement Act to ensure an efficient procurement process during HPPII. Key issues facing the procurement system and remedial actions have been highlighted in the Report of the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy. The Panel recommended the improvment of the procurement system in order to enhance accountability, transparency and sound economic governance. In this regard, remedial measures will be implemented during HPPII. The adoption and implementation of the National AntiCorruption Strategy and Action Plan (NACS) 2016 – 2019 and other measures introduced by Government has assisted in improving performance in the fight against corruption. For this reason, Namibia performs well on governance indicators and is ranked 6th in Africa on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index in 2020.
The Executive and Management Cadre have embraced the Performance Management System (PMS) which was strengthened during HPPI. Ministers sign Performance Agreements with the Head of State each Financial Year (FY). Equally, Executive Directors sign performance agreements with the Secretary to Cabinet. Progress on the implementation of annual Sectoral Plans is evaluated on a quarterly basis by the Prime Minister, including HPP targets. The Ministerial Quarterly Evaluation Reports are submitted to the President. Embedding a high-performance culture will be critical during HPPII, particularly strengthening and extending the PMS to Regional Councils and Local Authorities. The publication of Ministerial Performance Agreements has been an important success under HPPI, whereby Minister’s Agreements have been available on the website www.opm.gov.na
The first fully-fledged Citizen Satisfaction Survey (CSS) in Government was carried out in 2017 to measure turnaround times and the quality of public services. The result of the inaugural survey was a 54 percent satisfaction rating. In line with Government’s commitment to continuous improvement, the CSS will be re-introduced during HPPII.
Outcomes of the survey will be integrated into performance assessment metrics and used to ensure improvements in service delivery. Public Relations Officers and/or Liaison Officers in OMAs and Regional Councils will serve as dedicated focal points for public complaints and enquiries. A key HPPI target was to improve financial management in OMAs, as a critical component to enhancing transparency. While quarterly management reports were successfully introduced, the HPPI Final Report noted that Quarterly Management Accounts have not been widely adopted and should be embedded in the Sectoral Plans. Good progress has been made concerning the rollout of e-governance services, such as e-justice, investment facilitation, Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) online application, e-birth, e-death, e-visa services and ITAS, which are all operational. The successful implementation of the e-governance services will enhance service delivery, bringing Government closer to the people. The need for digital inclusion has become pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with regards to extending internet access to more Namibians and equipping schools and learners/students with devices for e-learning. Affordability of data, and network access in remote areas persist, and will be a crucial focus during HPPII.
Consistent with the commitment of President Geingob to inclusive approach and the three (3) tiered structure of representative Government, this Goal has been added as a strategic focus area to institutionalise structured engagement and participation platforms with the citizenry. In 2015 and 2019, the President undertook extensive Townhall Meetings and numerous sectoral consultations to obtain inputs and suggestions from stakeholders and to provide feedback on key issues of concern. During that period more than 30 Townhall meetings were conducted over a total of 194 hours of dialogue, an average of 7 hours per meeting, and over 27,676Km travelled by road and air. These consultations were central in informing policy formulation, including the HPPI. The HPPII will build on the successes of this consultative and inclusive approach. During countrywide consultations to inform this Pillar, the role of technology to enhance citizen engagement and participation was underscored. The advent of Information and Communication Technology requires Government to harness the full potential of new technologies by deploying alternative methods of engagement to foster more responsive and collaborative participation. E-governance is one such tool to bring Government closer to the People.
The Namibian House is built on the solid foundation of peace and stability. Security and the Rule of Law are indispensable in creating the necessary conditions for development, poverty eradication, investment and regional integration. In this regard, the Government remains committed to strengthening safety and security through law enforcement agencies. The maintenance of the rule of law is a critical success factor in the implementation of HPPII and the NDPs. Trans-national criminal networks are increasingly engaged in money laundering, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms smuggling and illegal exploitation of natural resources posing a threat to national security. In light of these challenges, law enforcement agencies are required to effectively monitor all points of entry, including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to maintain law and order and uphold territorial sovereignty.