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NBC woes far from over

After November, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) will be so broke that it won't be able to pay salaries. Albertus Aochamub, the director general of the NBC, on Wednesday [22 August 2012] said: "There is no money. There are massive deficits that we inherited."
According to him, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joël Kaapanda, has undertaken to prioritise the matter in order to come up with a solution.

This bad news came after the announcement of a salary increase which brought a six-day strike to an end on Wednesday, 22 August 2012. The countrywide strike crippled radio and television services.

Blaming the NBC management for their part in the strike, Gabes Andumba, the deputy general secretary of the Namibia Public Workers' Union (Napwu), said: "Instead of assisting our efforts in searching for a solution, we were constantly given empty promises and half-truths."

He added, "The business of Napwu is to represent the interest of our members at the workplace as demonstrated here at NBC, meaning attending to bread-and-butter issues and labour matters of the marginalised workers."

Cabinet directed the NBC to redirect close to N$9 million from its budget to fund the salary increases demanded by the strikers.

Following a recommendation by the Cabinet Treasury Committee on Monday, Cabinet on Tuesday decided that additional funding would not be made available to the NBC.

However, it was recommended that "whatever money is available, should be re-prioritised".

The salary increases are backdated to 1 April 2012, Aochamub said.

The lower level workers received 4,4%, while those in higher grades got 1%.

Aochamub said: "Our services are essential to the well-being of this nation. We apologise that a large part of this country was deprived of this essential service."

He attributed their financial woes to historical and chronic underfunding. On Wednesday, Aochamub claimed that the strike did not result in any financial losses.

According to him, advertisers will still get the advertising they have paid for.

Meanwhile, Swanu secretary general, Tangeni Iijambo, said Kaapanda, the NBC board and its management should explain the broadcaster's "abject failure". Should they not be able to do that, they should resign, he demanded.

According to him, "most Namibians depend on the Government mouthpiece for various salient announcements".

Source: allAfrica