DTA concerned over NBC finances

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The official opposition in parliament, the DTA of Namibia has expressed deep concern and worry over the prevailing state of affairs at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), particularly concerning the medical aid for staff that is in reportedly in jeopardy.

Addressing the press in the capital yesterday, DTA MP and shadow treasurer Nico Smit said media reports that the NBC has since February failed to pay over to Namibia Medical Care (NMC) monthly deductions from staff salaries in respect of medical aid contributions were worrying.

He said claims the national broadcaster has similarly failed to pay over monies deducted monthly from staff salaries for vehicle and housing allowances and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) cast a cloud of uncertainty over the future of the public broadcaster.

“The management of the NBC has allowed this situation to deteriorate to a level where NMC has threatened the suspension of medical aid coverage for NBC staff… [This] is an indication that those who occupy positions in the above management are wholly incompetent and entirely incapable of holding such posts,” he charged.

Smith said considering that the full contingent of NBC staff and their dependents face the prospect of having their medical aid coverage suspended, this exposes the NBC – and by extension the taxpayer – to significant liability should a medical emergency occur involving any NBC staff member or their dependents.

He said the DTA believes the non-payment of the abovementioned monthly dues by the NBC warrants an urgent official investigation.

“The actions of the NBC management in this regard constitute fraud and/or theft. It is imperative that the truth be brought to the fore and that those responsible are held to account,” he stressed.

“The incompetence of the NBC management is further underlined by its approach to its budget shortfall of N$80 million,” he added.

He said it was puzzling to note that an individual tasked with running an institution, such as the NBC, was incapable of realising that the institution itself is responsible for making up any shortfalls in national budgetary allocations through the diversification and development of new revenue streams.

“The arrogance which belies the attitude and expectation that government must, and ultimately will, rescue wasteful and mismanaged public entities – which prevails across management in the Sate-Owned Enterprise (SOE) sector – is partially to blame for the precarious financial and economic times we face,” he said.

Smit said in times like these country that we cannot afford to recklessly spend resources on underperforming and mismanaged public entities.

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