BOARD chairperson of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Sven Thieme, has stated that austerity measures put in place will not be reversed as the current situation at the national broadcaster has left the board with no other option but to introduce stringent limited measures that includes a stuff reduction.
Thieme made these remarks in response to demands given by the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU) that NBC ceases all austerity measures, which may result in the loss of jobs for close to 150 part time workers.
In his response, Thieme stated that the notion and aspect of staff losing jobs is a reality, especially under the current circumstances.
“As we all know, the current challenging economic situation in our country has put a lot of entities in serious trouble. The NBC is not immune to this. This is a process that is law driven and cannot happen arbitrarily and thus needs and demands that proper consultations be held with all stakeholders within its normal occurrence. In the event that we are lucky to receive the appropriate funding for the NBC, we must be aware that the shareholder might dictate how the entity should be managed or structured moving forward by virtue of their ownership over the NBC,” Thieme explained.
He added that these staff reductions may not necessarily only target contract workers and freelancers alone, but all job levels could be subjected to the same should the option become a reality.
With regard to contract employment, Thieme stated that the confirmation of contract employees to permanent status is on hold due to the prevailing financial situation.
Touching on the lack of third party payments, Thieme stated that as key stakeholders, NAPWU is very well versed with the state of NBCs financial challenges and efforts which the board and management have been attending to for the past 15 years.
“It is rather sad and difficult to comprehend why NAPWU, and by extension the workers, should create the impression and state that they are not aware of the outstanding payments which are due to creditors and third parties. These include the historical debt which has been there since 2004. The non-payment of third parties are in no way a deliberate action from management, it is a result of short funding. The office is doing its utmost best in making arrangements with third parties not to register names of NBC staff members on the Trans-union Credit Bureau, well-known amongst credit defaulters as ITC,” Thieme shared.
He stated that since 2015, the NBC has seen a systematic cut in subsidy, which puts the day to day running of the NBC in jeopardy. Thieme said that the N$100 million per annum cut in subsidy the past four years has led to the NBC not being able to cater and pay for services rendered on time for many entities which are rendering services to the NBC.