19 December 2012

Namibia: Finance Bids Farewell to Schlettwein

THE newly appointed minister of trade and industry, Calle Schlettwein, yesterday said his goodbyes to his colleagues at the Ministry of Finance, where he served ten years of his career, first as as permanent secretary and then deputy minister.

Schlettwein said the ministry had achieved many milestones in various areas.

"In hindsight, we did not slip up big time. We have kept debt at sustainable levels. We [ministry of finance] have come to prove that we are people that honour our debt and have the ability to pay," said Schlettwein.

He added that one of the big things the ministry did right was that it never overspent.

"The ministry has established several satellite offices across the country, bringing the ministry closer to the people," he said. He added that the construction of the new finance building was also an achievement for the ministry.

Schlettwein said that in terms of inland revenue, the ministry had experienced revenue constraints as taxpayer compliance was low. However, through forensic audits it managed to pick up revenue collection over the past seven years.

Other achievements were plans to develop the Lüderitz and Zambezi waterfronts as well as turning around the Windhoek Country Club into a profitable organisation.

With regard to Air Namibia, which falls under the Ministry of Finance, he said, "It took our time and patience. We turned it around two times, however we did not finish our job, but it is a special case."

Schlettwein has served in seven ministries since independence and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will be his eighth assignment in the public service.

"My heart will always be in Finance," said Schlettwein, who received a farewell gift from Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and colleagues yesterday.

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