'Insolvent' NBC wants bigger bailout

If 30 NBC employees were to resign today, the broadcaster would not be able to pay out their post-retirement medical aid benefits and other retirement packages.

21 August 2019 | Economics

Plans, in this case, is cash, it’s money, it’s revenue, it’s government subsidy. - Vazenga Kauraisa, HR chief: NBC

The NBC needs N$313.2 million and N$4 million respectively from government to pay its outstanding liability in the form of post-medical aid benefits and severance pay to its employees.

The state broadcaster has its eyes fixed on the government for capitalisation or recapitalisation in order to get out of the current financial mess, the NBC management on Monday indicated when it appeared before the parliamentary standing committee on public accounts.

The NBC’s current liabilities stand at N$270 million.

The situation is so dire that if 30 NBC employees were to resign today, the broadcaster would not be able to pay out their post-retirement medical aid benefits and other retirement packages, management admitted.

The NBC currently deducts post-retirement benefits from employees’ monthly salaries - at least on paper - when in fact there is no actual money involved. This was also highlighted in auditor-general Junias Kandjeke’s report into the finances of NBC for the 2016/17 financial year, on which the hearing was premised.

“It was further noted that there were no specific assets set aside by the corporation to fund these liabilities. Technically these plans are not funded,” Kandjeke found at the time.

No change

The situation has not changed since then.

Much of this is to be blamed on past regimes and a reduction in NBC’s subsidy from government, the broadcaster’s director-general, Stanley Similo, told the committee.

“But now you come in and have to deal with issues that have been there forever, even now when you do good, people won’t see that because you are swallowed by all these issues,” Similo said.

NBC got a N$140 million subsidy from the government for the current financial year, around 25% than it received the previous financial year.

The NBC’s chief human capital officer, Vazenga Kauraisa, said: “Plans, in this case, is cash, it’s money, it’s revenue, it’s government subsidy. Without that, I don’t know what plans you are asking.” - Nampa

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