PRIME MINSTER Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has stated that the government has taken note of concerns raised by industry on the impact the liquidation of Air Namibia will have on the economy and added that the government will engage with the private sector to optimize job opportunities for the now unemployed airline workers.
Amadhila addressed Parliament and said that the government is also cognizant of how the closure of the airline would impact the tourism sector and added that the option to have an airline in the future is not totally off the table.
“Liquidation was not the first option, the government offered subsidies to the airline over numerous years, and numerous efforts to restructure the airline also did not yield any results,” Amadhila said.
She further discredited claims that there was an oversight on options that could have saved the airline, stating that Cabinet engaged with different stakeholders, including trade unions. She said that views have surfaced that the government might not have been thorough in investigating the matter and that there were viable options to turn around the airline.
Amadhila however added that at the time the decision was made to liquidate the airline, no new information was provided that could save the airline.
Also speaking during the session, Minister of Finance, Ipumbu Shiimi reiterated his stance that the government could no longer sustain the nonprofit making airline’s debt at the expense of other socio-economic priorities.
Shiimi further described calls by opposition parties to halt the liquidation of the airline as a political game as they were the very parties in the past who chastised the government for bailing out struggling state-owned enterprises.
With no update on liquidation, amidst political bickering, Challenge Air lawyers plan on attaching the national airline’s assets, unless the first instalment of N$107 million is paid.