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NBC budget allocation not sufficient, 27 April 2021

The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director General (DG) Stanley Similo briefing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information, Communication, Technology and Innovation

 

  Story by Rafael Hangula

Windhoek - The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director General (DG) Stanley Similo said that the current budgetary allocation of N$ 127 million is not sufficient enough to run the operations of the national broadcaster and to resolve the ongoing strike.

Similo said this on Monday (26/April 2021) during a meeting between the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information, Communication Technology and Innovation and the NBC management.

 

The NBC was not summoned by the committee to explain the ongoing strike as reported by some media houses, but to brief the committee on the operations of the national broadcaster.

The Parliamentary committee is conducting consultative meetings with different stakeholders with regards to their operations. Over the past weeks, the committee has held consultative meetings with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) as well as the MTC, on the same subject of their mandate and operations. The committee has a constitutional mandate to conduct oversight functions over State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) falling within its ambit.

According to Similo, the allocated amount was inadequate to resolve the ongoing strike that has led to an information blackout.

“The amount that has been put forward for approval is N$ 127 million, for this financial year and that denotes a 62% cut in subsidy, and that in a way is also tied to why the current strike cannot be resolved. With this amount, there is no way we will be able to sustain and keep the business going,” said Similo. NBC employees have been on strike since last week to demand a salary hike and backpay.

During the presentation, Similo pointed out that for the current financial year, an amount of N$ 58m has been set aside for technological changes, such as transmitter improvement, expansion and upgrading of radio and television studios, and Information Technologies.

“If we only get N$ 127 million it means the whole business as NBC is in trouble. If that subsidy allocation does not improve, a different discussion will have to ensue within the NBC, a lot of people might lose their jobs” he cautioned.

The NBC delegation further informed the committee that as of Monday (26 April 2021) a total of 105 employees had disconnected themselves from the ongoing strike.

Responding to questions from Members of the Committee with regard to the N$ 5.4 million payouts to the managers, Similo noted that there was nothing untoward and that the said payouts had been approved by the Board of Directors as per the provisions of the Public Enterprises Act for the top management employed on contract. He added that the amount equates to a period of five years.

The NBC was established in line with the Namibian Broadcasting Act, Act 9 of 1991. Its main source of funding is an annual state subsidy. Other sources of income are the sale of air time and programs, the issuing of yearly television licenses and the renting out of transmitters.

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