Official Portrait Sells Slowly

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK With 8 400 official photographs of President Hifikepunye Pohamba printed last year for sale by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, only 169 photographs have been sold from the 742 photographs distributed to six regions. Based on statistics provided by the Directorate of Print media at the Ministry of Information, since the decentralization of the selling of the portrait to the regions in September 2005, Rundu and Oshakati are doing well in sales. From the 99 photographs sent to Oshakati in the Oshana region, so far 69 have been sold. In Rundu, 44 photographs have been purchased by businesses out of the 153 sent to the Ministry of Information’s regional office. The Erongo Region has so far sold 25 out of a total of 69, while the Otjozondjupa Region has 24 remaining from the 44 photographs. Sales in regions such as the Caprivi have been poor with only four out of 212 pictures sold from May 2005 to March 2006. The Karas Region managed to sell seven out of 165. There were no figures for the Khomas Region though the bulk of the photographs, framed and unframed are reported to have been sold. According to the head of media liaison office in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Wilma Deetlefs, the low sales of the portraits in some regions could be attributed to the delay in distributing the photographs to regional offices. This was only done in September 2005, though the pictures were printed in May the same year. Another reason could be that the photograph is expensive. Photos are available in different sizes, with or without a frame. Unframed photos come in the sizes 30 x 40 cm (A4) costing N$50 and 40 x 50 cm (A3) at N$100. Framed photos of the same sizes cost N$320 (A4) and N$400 (A3) respectively. However, some customers such as Cabinet and departments in the office of the President have requested for framed portraits of 126 x 96 cm, she stated. This has been the largest size handled by the Ministry of Information. Companies such as NamDeb and De Beers also requested for custom sizes. In addition to that, some brisk sales were made at major trade fairs and agriculture shows where the ministry exhibited in 2005. During the Ongwediva Trade Fair in 2005, the ministry generated N$18 000 from the sale of photographs. Looking at the total number of 8 400 photos printed, 2 300 of the A4 size and 3 000 of A3 size were framed. “We are satisfied with the rate at which the photos are selling. However, if the photos could be available in smaller sizes and at a cheaper rate like any other ‘normal’ picture would cost, we would sell more,” Deetlefs said. She revealed that the total revenue raised from selling of the official photograph to date is N$1 349 387,62. Cash sales amounted to N$498 489 while the debit acceptances, which is the method through which government to government sales are made, totalled some N$850 898,62. Though Deetlefs could not provide figures on how many of framed and unframed photos have been bought, she admitted, “Not all the printed portraits framed and unframed have been sold. The exercise will continue until we satisfy demand.”