NHE financial woes blamed on incompetent leadership

Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Housing Enterprise, Gisbertus Mukulu has been accused of inefficiency and blamed for the ‘’catastrophic financial situation’’ at the parastatal.

The accusations are made in the resignation letter of the company’s Legal Advisor and Company Secretary, Ntelamo Ntelamo, who further says that the ‘’financial situation in my opinion is unaffected by Covid-19 … nobody measured the impact of the pandemic on the business to provide a credible argument’’.

Approach for comment, Mukuluh dismissed the claims with arrogance, claiming that Ntelamo’s words reflect his personal opinions and not those of NHE.

‘’Any internal communication in an organisation is meant for the recipients and not for discourse in the media,’’ he stated.

The email according to Ntelamo was a form of feedback to specifically examine the leadership at NHE. ‘’Take my words as honest feedback from my perspective. You ay not agree with it, all that choice is entirely yours.’’

The email states Toska Sem, a board member of NHE allegedly once said in a meeting as a “CEO, you can do anything else, if you do not build houses, you will still have not done anything.”

Ntelamo comments that Sem made the remarks because she understands what it takes for NHE to win, as well as its business or reason for being, implying that the CEO has not been carrying out his obligations successfully.

‘’Any leader always feels the pulse of his institution’s financial position, and ensures it is steady and growing because to do otherwise would mean closing shop. Now, to do well at NHE you need to hear the same words again; build more houses! NHE’s loan book MUST be your primary concern and preoccupation, because that is exactly what indicates the value of your business,’’ Ntamelo says in his scathing resignation letter.

He emphasises that the NHE’s sustainability cannot be separated from its loan book. ‘’If the loan book is low and is ever dwindling, NHE is going down without doubt. The above truth you MUST know as the CEO. Now, when you know you MUST do something to improve the situation.’’

Ntelamo further alleges that the CEO does not want to take blame for the state of the organisation and so does no one.

‘’It can all stop if you teach your employees to take responsibility, but it starts when you take responsibility for much more, it will encourage them to follow suit. I understand the idea of voluntary retrenchments has surfaced pointing to poor finances. So, NHE’s financial position is blamed on its leadership.’’

NHE’s mandate is very simple – ‘’NHE cannot struggle to get land when it is an organ of State, when the shareholder is the same who approves alienation of land in local authorities in Namibia. I really see no room for valid excuses in this respect. It is really how you go about it.’’

The CEO was advised to mobilise and inculcate a culture of going out in the field to look for business, Ntelamo says, but ‘’you hardly wear an overall if at all you have done so, to visit sites with your executive to appreciate where NHE’s revenue comes from, to interact with contractors and find out what challenges they are facing and how to assist’’.

According to Ntelamot, the Mukulu has failed to spell out his vision for NHE. “You have failed to gain the confidence of NHE employees, I do expect you know this too. And I am afraid it is nearly late to restore the confidence, UNLESS you do drastic things, but right things. It is still possible, if you REINVENT yourself.’’

Leaders make decisions, and this is Mukulu’s biggest undoing. ‘’You like having a committee, a group of people who can make a decision with you. It does not always work that way in leadership; otherwise, you are not the leader. So many decisions must be made on your own, after you have educated yourself. As things stand, you over-consult, but in the end, you either don’t decide or choose the wrong option.’’

‘’A few houses do not make a dent in the financials; they merely replace the percentage by which the loan book has declined because clients finish paying their mortgages every day; some are even bought out by commercial banks, because NHE has no exciting products to offer them an opportunity,’’ he advises.

The former legal advisor questions why a full technical team is required when there are no projects.

Furthermore, a very few departments will have work in NHE in the absence of housing projects – ‘’in its absence … NHE can as just well close down’’.

 

By Observer