The finance minister, Iipumbu Shiimi, will meet with NamPower management and board today for the power utility to explain why it failed to comply with the cabinet directive not to institute stage 1 power cuts to defaulting customers on Monday.
According to a statement from the ministry on Tuesday, the meeting will discuss why NamPower failed to furnish the ministry with information pertaining to the debt settlement by defaulters resulting from the issuance of the public notices before instituting power suspensions.
The meeting will also discuss the way forward and ensure NamPower complies with the Cabinet directive, Shiimi said.
“I will meet with them [NamPower] tomorrow,” Shiimi told The Namibian at parliament yesterday.
On Monday, NamPower disconnected defaulting local authorities in the Hardap and //Karas regions, as well as northern regions that get power from Nored.
NamPower’s managing director, Simson Haulofu, in a statement issued yesterday, confirmed that the company received the directive from the Cabinet, but the board of directors decided to proceed with the disconnection plan.
“After due consideration, the board of directors unanimously decided to exercise its fiduciary responsibilities towards the company and to protect the interest of the company and stakeholders. Moreover, the board of directors and management resolved to proceed with the disconnection plan because it is in the best interest of the financial sustainability of the company and for the sustainability of electricity supply in the country,” said Haulofu.
He said disconnecting defaulting customers was a measure of last resort, implemented after exhausting all other interventions to collect outstanding debts. Haulofu also acknowledged that the failure to collect these dues would have unintended consequences, such as requiring guarantees for all future borrowings for generation and transmission infrastructure. NamPower’s decision to proceed with the disconnection plan received mixed reactions from the public.
While some viewed it as a necessary step to safeguard the company’s financial stability and maintain a consistent electricity supply, others expressed concerns about the potential impact on individuals and businesses.
On Tuesday the NamPower board chairperson, Daniel Motinga, said company management and the board are engaging with all relevant stakeholders on the matter, and will inform the nation of the outcome of the consultations in due course.
Political analyst Rui Tjitende in an interview with Desert.FM yesterday said NamPower is within its mandate to collect the money that is owed to it.
He, however, believes that NamPower is being bullied because it is operating in a political environment.
“ NamPower, management, chairperson of the board and minister will all report to a certain political clique, and that political clique is the ruling party. So, whatever the ruling party says, unfortunately, they have to comply with because they are also thinking about their own future,” said Tjitende.
He blames the cabinet for not picking up on the warning NamPower has been putting out to the public about the power cuts.
According to him, the government, through Shiimi, is not being proactive.
Tjitende also questioned how cabinet plans to hold the defaulting local authorities and Nored accountable.
According to him, NamPower cannot be an effective and efficient power utility if it is unable to generate revenue.