Namibia: Nampa Not a Problematic SOE - CEO

THE chief executive officer (CEO) of the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), Linus Chata, says the government-owned news agency is not a problematic state enterprise, and has been operating in a transparent, accountable and compliant manner.

Chata, in a statement issued on Friday, also denied allegations that Nampa has spent about N$40 million in state funds to construct oversized headquarters in Windhoek.

The CEO made these remarks in response to an article published by The Namibian on the government's plan to merge the agency with the New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC).

Tonateni Shidhudhu, Ministry of Finance spokesperson, last week said the decision to merge the two organisations was taken to cut out the possible duplication of government activities, and to avoid unnecessary spending.

Budget documents presented in the National Assembly by minister of finance Iipumbu Shiimi earlier this month showed that the two state-controlled news entities received a combined subsidy of about N$80 million from the national budget over the past three years.

This includes N$49 million allocated to Nampa, and N$30 million to New Era.

The budget document further shows Nampa has been allocated a subsidy of N$14 million this year.

Chata said the agency's head office building in Windhoek was funded through a loan from a commercial bank, and not through a government subsidy.

He also clarified concerns over the agency's organisational structure and the money it spends on salaries and general operations.

Without providing the exact figures, Chata said Nampa's wage bill is well below the alleged N$30 million, which includes other operational expenses.

"The government has never bailed out Nampa since inception. The agency, which is a non-commercial public service provider, has in fact been operating from a position of chronic underfunding. As a matter of fact, the agency can sustain its operations annually with a mere N$25 million," Chata said.

He said Nampa has consistently produced clean financial statements annually since its inception.

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