German Parliament budget committee visits Namibia, 25 January 2019
: Leader of the German delegation, Hon. Dennis Rohde (left) hands over a gift to Swapo party Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Hon. Evelyn !Nawases Taeyele (right) during the visit
|Story by George Sanzila
A delegation of the budgetary committee of the German Federal government paid a visit to the National Assembly today (25/01/19). The delegation that has been in the country since Wednesday (23/01/19) was received at Parliament by Government Chief Whip, Hon. Evelyn !Nawases Taeyele on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi.
The delegation that was impressed by Namibia’s progress in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, is in the country to assess projects funded under the German Federal government’s aid programme. The country visit ended today (25/01/19).
National Council should raise the bar-Mensah-Williams, 29 January 2019
The Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams addressing the National Council Secretariat
|Story by Rafael Hangula
National Council (NC) must raise the bar and aim always to improve the quality of its work in pursuit of one day realizing its Vision Statement, which is: “A House of Review that truly represents the interest of the people of Namibia,” said the Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams.
She said this on Tuesday 29 January 2019 at the first general staff meeting of the National Council. “We can only get to the next level of excellence if there is inter and intra-Directorate unity and teamwork,” she the Chairperson.
“We must furthermore aim for better relations at the operational level with our sister house, the National Assembly, with Regional Councils, as well as with the rest of Government,” she added.
Mensah-Williams further noted that while Namibia is not immune to global economic challenges that inevitably have had a negative effect on its operations, she was pleased and thanked the NC secretariat for finding ways to make sure the little that the institution had was able to take it a long way in 2018.
“I would like to take this opportunity to call upon management to continue reprioritizing by cutting out non-essential spending. Let us continue on the path of doing more with less, by safeguarding government assets and avoiding wastage,” she stressed.
“Indeed, together we can and we will scale to new heights that will take the National Council forward into 2020 and beyond”
Although all that outsiders see are the proceedings in the chamber and the work of the NC standing committees, the Chairperson said “what many don’t realize is that the engine room of the National Council is you, our dear staff,” she stressed.
“I am 100 percent certain that I speak on behalf of all honorable members when I say that we depend on each and every one of you for us to carry out our constitutional mandate,” she noted.
Speaker Katjavivi wants strengthened friendship with German Parliament
Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (right) with German Green party MP, Hon. Ottmar von Holtz
|Story by George Sanzila
National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has expressed the need for a strengthened Namibia-German parliamentary friendship group that he says is meant as a forum for sharing information and consultations on important issues affecting not only Namibia but the region as a whole. Katjavivi made these remarks when he met Green Party lawmaker in the German Bundestag, Hon. Ottmar Von Holtz at Parliament yesterday.
Hon. Holtz is Namibian born German MP who was elected to that country’s parliament recently.
The Speaker further noted that the friendship group is also aimed at facilitating capacity building of both lawmakers and staff. Hon. Katjavivi expressed these sentiments ahead of a study visit to the German Bundestag by a delegation Namibian MPs and staff that he is going to lead from the 17 to 23 February.
He noted that a lot could be learned from the German Parliament to improve the operations of the National Assembly. “This is a forum and mechanism for cementing, strengthening and adding value to the relationship that exists. It would be interesting to learn and exchange ideas about budget formulation and see how we could improve and detach our budget from the executive. Budget cuts have also had a negative impact on the oversight function of parliament and we would like to understand the German experience”, said Katjavivi.
Katjavivi who is also the Chancellor of Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) expressed the need for collaboration between the Namibian government and vocational institutions in German in order to impart valuable skills particularly among the youth in order to reduce unemployment.
British High Commissioner pays a courtesy call on Speaker Katjavivi
British High Commissioner to Namibia, Her Excellency, Katie Airey (left) with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi
|Story by George Sanzila
British High Commissioner to Namibia, Her Excellency, Kate Airey paid a courtesy call on Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi yesterday to discuss a wide range of issues among them the implication of BREXIT for Common Wealth countries after Britain leaves the European Union.
The two are of the opinion that Commonwealth countries should have a strategy in place in order to emerge stronger post BREXIT.
Hon. Katjavivi further implored the British High Commissioner to relook at the terms of reference for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a charitable organization meant to enrich the lives of citizens across the Commonwealth. Namibia’s classification as an upper middle income country often disadvantages the country from funding programmes.
He however commended parliamentary cooperation that exists between the two legislatures. “We have a vibrant relationship and the British Parliament has been involved in a training programme for our MPs through CPA. They will once again be arriving on the 8th of April for another training”, noted the Speaker.
The Speaker is further concerned about the looming power crisis in the country noting that there is an urgent need to look at alternatives such as the Kudu gas project and solar energy if the country aspires to be energy self-sufficient. He noted that parliament will soon play its part by holding consultations with stakeholders in the energy sector to find a lasting solution to the energy crisis.
Key highlights ahead of opening of Parliament
Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi highlighting some of the successes of the National Assembly during a press briefing today
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi highlighted some of the achievements of the National Assembly and reminded the public about the mandate of the legislature during a press briefing today ahead of the official opening of Parliament on Wednesday. The official opening signals the resumption of business for Members of Parliament. This year’s Parliament session is centered on the theme “Promoting Integrity, Professionalism”.
Hon. Katjavivi reiterated some of the functions of the legislature such as the oversight function and the role Parliament plays in participatory democracy. He noted that in 2018 several Parliamentary Committees undertook visits to the regions to investigate government projects and to conduct public hearings on pertinent issues such as gender based violence and teenage pregnancies as part of the oversight function.
Government owned entities such as Air Namibia, TransNamib and Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund were also probed. Some of the reports emanating from these undertakings have been tabled for further consideration said Katajvivi.
The Speaker noted that Parliament also continues to participate in regional and international bodies as part of the global community. Some of these bodies include the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).
He also used the occasion to announce the arrival of a bus donated by China to the Parliament of Namibia for use in the latter’s outreach and oversight functions. The bus is likely to be unveiled shortly after the opening of Parliament.
Another area of importance to Hon. Katjavivi is transforming the Namibian Parliament into a paperless institution. He noted that the National Assembly will start digitizing its operations from this year. Katjavivi noted that Finland has already pledged to work together with the Namibian Parliament in digitizing the institution. The two Parliaments formed a friendship group when then Finnish Speaker Maria Lohela reciprocated and visited the Namibian Parliament in 2018, after Katjavivi’s visit to Finland a year earlier.
Katjavivi also hailed the summarization of bills for ease of understanding for Members of Parliament as having played a critical role in increasing the participation and active involvement of lawmakers in last year’s session. The National Assembly further launched its strategic plan, which Katjavivi described as an important tool for directing the institution. “In September we launched a strategic plan. This is an important tool for us to be able to focus on our mandate and fulfill our obligation as elected representatives of the people”, said the Speaker.
Over 20 bills were tabled and passed last year with 16 motions tabled and six adopted. Bills such the Divorce Bill, Combating of Rape Amendment Act, Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority Bill and the Electronic Transactions Bill, forms part of over 16 bills lined up to be tabled during this year’s session.