Rundu — The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) recently decentralised its rural water supply and sanitation coordination services to regional councils in its quest to improve service.
The Director of Forestry, Joseph Hailwa who is based at the ministry in Windhoek was given the task to spearhead the decentralisation of some of the functions within rural water supply.
"The directorate has a number of functions of research, setup infrastructure and then the rural water supply itself and the sanitation coordination component. Now the rural water supply function and the sanitation coordination component has now been decentralised to the regions under the regional councils," Hailwa told New Era upon inquiry.
What that means now is that all the regional councils will now run the day-to-day activities of rural water supply and coordination of sanitation except for Khomas Region which is actually going to be served from the headquarters of the ministry of agriculture in Windhoek.
"Actually, we are following the existing policy and procedures within the provision of the decentralisation policy and legislative provision that our staff are to be accommodated under one of the departments or directorates within the regional council and our people will report to those structures there, more specifically to the chief regional officers," Hailwa said.
However, the ministry will still remain with the task of monitoring, evaluation and policy planning and from time to time they will have a team to visit regions to do some evaluation and monitoring of what is happening in terms of maintenance of standards and so on.
"The ministry will be responsible for coordinating its budgeting up to parliament and once it is appropriated the given amount of money or the operational funds for the decentralised functions will be transferred to the regional councils and they will operationalise according to the procedures they have, but salaries are already fixed, they are still in our books they will still be paid accordingly but all the operational funds will be transferred to the regional councils," he said.
"Through monitoring or through evaluation if there's anything we need to consult between the regional councils and the ministry it will be done so either to improve or correct whatever may be going wrong in case, but at the moment regional councils are having the amount of experience in terms of handling this because they have been doing this with other sectors maybe three or four," he added.
Hailwa said forest management is one of the services or functions to be decentralised in the near future and that MAWF has identified to also decentralise agricultural extension services and a few others but the next to follow immediately will be agricultural extension services and forestry.
"It is our hope that in the course of the coming financial year, we may by then have reached the level of transferring them to regional councils as well," said the forestry director.