NBC Introduces Cost-Cutting Measures

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK THE board of the troubled Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) this week introduced several cost-cutting measures intended to reduce unnecessary spending. A source said though the board was this week accused of using sittings as a ruse for financial gain, this was not the case because it wants to rein in unnecessary expenditure. At Tuesday’s meeting the appointment of a new director general (DG) was the main item on the agenda, but the board also formulated several cost-cutting measures. After the meeting chaired by board chairman Ponhele ya France who also doubles as de facto NBC chief, a directive was issued to the executive management and to others to implement the cost-cutting measures immediately. An authoritative source said NBC employees were given strict directives to slash their telephone bills and to cut down on travelling. Managers who fail to rein in wayward spending would apparently be told to pay for costs incurred unnecessarily. The source that requested anonymity, citing ethical reasons, said the board wants the NBC to reduce its telephone bill by 40 percent and that workers should only stick to official and very important calls. It also banned teleconferencing as some managers in Windhoek spend hours on end teleconferencing with their colleagues who are stationed in the regions. The board has undertaken to monitor the spending patterns of each department closely. New Era was also told the high frequency of recent board meetings was necessitated by recent developments that resulted in Gerry Munyama being suspended as DG before he resigned. “Recent developments at the NBC dictated the board should have those meetings,” stated the source. Another issue that contributed to the meetings that each cost the NBC at least N$13 500 per session was the issue of tender irregularities that led to the suspension of the General Manager for Technical Services, Ruben Prinz. Though the “interim” appointment of Stanley Simataa, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, as NBC boss is yet to become official, the source insisted this is so. New Era was informed the board would advertise for suitable applicants to apply for the vacant position of DG by next month. The board feels a person should fill the position not necessarily with a background in journalism but by an applicant with experience in administration and some basic understanding of finance. Affiliation to any political party would apparently not play a role this time around as the NBC is a public broadcaster that should serve the interests of all Namibians irrespective of political affiliation, said the source.