1 March 2011

Namibia: NBC Slashes Executive Management

The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has slashed its executive management from nine to five in its belt-tightening drive.

All nine former general managers, who previously formed part of the executive committee (exco), will have to compete for the reduced number of jobs.

The vacancies are advertised in the media today.

According to NBC board chairperson Sven Thieme, the decision is based on "the newly unveiled NBC strategic triangle and extensive consultations with [the] key stakeholder".

He added: "The corporation has identified four critical success factors, namely drastic revenue improvement, [a] passionate, empowered and motivated team, audience-focused and quality programming and effective financial management."

The five new exco positions will comprise a chief financial officer, a chief commercial officer, a chief technology officer, a chief human capital officer and a chief news and programming officer.

NBC director general (DG) Albertus Aochamub said although the current position of chief financial officer is already filled on a 12-month contract basis, it has been decided to advertise this position too, "for the sake of transparency and fairness".

A recent tabloid article claimed that the current occupant was a school friend of Thieme. The chairperson refuted the allegation.

Aochamub, who took over the hot seat last year, admitted that the latest restructuring will not go down well with everybody. "We expect media reports on leaks from NBC, name-calling, being ridiculed and vilified, but nobody said that building a credible organisation would be a walk in the park."The troubled public broadcaster had accumulated losses of N$170,6 million and showed a deficit of N$38 million for the financial year which ended in March 2008, while penalties for not paying income tax deducted from employees to the Receiver of Revenue run into millions.

Last year, it was reported that the NBC faced various court cases and had been sued for a total of N$100,4 million by different people and companies, but had not made any provisions for that sum.

"The continued losses and unabated deterioration in liquidity and solvency ratio indicate that the Corporation has a liquidity crisis and is commercially insolvent," Auditor General Junias Kandjeke then said in his latest audit report on the NBC.

"I am unable to express an opinion on the financial statements of the NBC," Kandjeke added, citing a long list of reasons like investments that did not agree with balances held in various fund accounts at banks.

The NBC had a total expenditure of N$145,1 million during the 2007-08 financial year, and received N$62 million as annual subsidy from the Information Ministry for that period. Income gained from licence fees and advertising equalled a third of the total expenditure, namely N$50,6 million.

Income received from advertising on the NBC radio services was N$11,4 million, television advertisements came to N$17 million and television licence fees amounted to N$16,4 million. Payments received for transmitter charges and advertising billboards came to N$5,5 million.

However, the auditors discovered that insurance premiums for the all-important transmitter stations - assets valued at N$108 million - were not paid by the NBC.

Not only that, insurance premiums for "plant and machinery" of the NBC were also not paid. "Hence, they were not covered by insurance", the Auditor General said. The joint insurance value of these assets was N$206,3 million.

The NBC also does not have a complete register of its assets, including buildings and land countrywide.

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