NBC tightens belt - again

14 October 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Facing dire financial woes, the national broadcaster has announced a string of cutbacks to keep the institution afloat.

This while serious talks are underway with Treasury around NBC’s outstanding Pay As You Earn (PAYE) debt, to the tune of N$253 million.

According to NBC director general Stanley Similo, the reduced subsidy will heavily impact their operations and, as such, they may not have enough cash flow or disposable cash to honour some of their third-party payments such as medical aid, tax, social security, mortgage payments and pension funds.

NBC’s funding from government has been reduced from N$334 million to a mere N$127.5 million.

“Staff will therefore notice on their payslip a monthly theoretical deduction in favour of third parties. However, such does not mean that an actual cash deduction has been effected or transferred to third parties as payment is dependent on the availability of cash.

“The NBC will still honour all the obligations once the funds are available, from own revenue and government subsidy. Therefore, the notion that actual monies are deducted from staff and deliberately not paid over to third parties is highly incorrect,” he said.

Compensated leave reduced

In a statement this week, Similo told staff members that they will also discontinue salary notch increments, in addition to reducing compensated leave from 90 days to 45 days.

“NBC pays out [up to] 90 days when staff leave the service of NBC. Unfortunately, staff accumulate a huge amount of leave days in violation of the NBC leave provisions and the Labour Act. Hence, against this background, the number of leave days to be paid out has been revisited and will be 45, with effect from 1 April 2022,” he said.

The institution has increasingly come under fire in the last five years for outstanding third-party payments which saw several staff members almost losing their homes.

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