The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: NBC Bailout Still Pending

THE Ministry of Finance has not yet approved a request by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to bail out the struggling Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

This news comes despite claims yesterday by Joël Kaapanda, the minister of information and communication technology, and Albertus Aochamub, the NBC director general, that the matter had been resolved.

According to Calle Schlettwein, the deputy minister of finance, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology made a submission to the finance ministry but no money has been paid out to the NBC. “The matter is still under consideration,” he said.

Aochamub yesterday morning said that the matter had been sorted out on November 13 already. “You can get the details from the Ministry [of Information and Communication Technology].”

Kaapanda, when approached for comment, said: “That is an old story – everybody knows that we have done so.”

Asked how much money the NBC had received, he said: “What they wanted.”

This contradicts what Schlettwein is saying. He said that by saying that the deal had been done, Kaapanda probably referred to the submission his ministry had made to the finance ministry.

Schlettwein did not want to disclose the amount requested, saying this could “create expectations”.

He said the Ministry of Finance considered the request as urgent.

Two weeks ago, The Namibian reported that the NBC had requested a bailout of between N$40 million and N$50 million from the government to survive until the end of the current financial year on March 31 2013.

The NBC has no money and will not be able to survive beyond December 1, Aochamub said. The money requested is over and above the N$108 million subsidy for the NBC which was budgeted for in the current financial year.

“Why should the taxpayer pay for salaries when they already receive a subsidy?” Schlettwein wanted to know earlier.

Schlettwein did not mince his words about the request. “If you receive a subsidy from Government, which the NBC does, your highest priorities should be funded.” This, he said, should include paying your employees.

He said the money had not been budgeted for. “There is no authority from Parliament to fund this. The Ministry of Finance and additional money should not be the first option.”

Aochamub said the corporation needed the government to fund its entire operational budget from December 1 to the end of March.

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