No salaries for NIMT staff

28 February 2019 | Education

Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) employees were informed on Monday that they would not receive their February salaries.

NIMT executive director Eckhart Mueller said in an internal memo, signed by him and NIMT financial manager Mark Templin, that the institution did not have the money to pay the salaries that were due yesterday.

Mueller, who could not be reached for further comment, advised the employees that they should make arrangements with their banks to ensure that deductions were not returned as unpaid.

He promised that the NIMT management was doing everything in its power to pay the salaries as soon as possible.

An NIMT Arandis staff member explained that the institution does not receive a fixed budget allocation from the government, unlike the University of Namibia (Unam) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

“Government subsidises over 95% of NIMT trainees via the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).

“The remaining 5% are private candidates supported by their parents and businesses. The NIMT is thus totally dependent on government funding per trainee.”

He added that there had been delays in treasury funds being released to the higher education ministry, which in turn has to channel the funds to NSFAF and the NTA.

“NIMT therefore suggested and implemented retrenchments in 2018 as a cost-cutting measure. Minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi, however, ordered the reinstatement of the retrenched employees and deputy executive director Raimo Naanda gave a guarantee that the funds would be provided on time.

“We were paid late in January and received only 75% of our salaries during the first week of February. A week later we received the remainder (25%).”

The staff member said the late payment of salaries had a snowball effect and affected the creditworthiness of employees.

“We constantly have to approach the bank for extensions due to the irregular salary payments we receive. Our creditworthiness is already down the drain.”

The staff member said classes were continuing despite a delay in the supply of materials caused by a shortage of funds.

NIMT was established at Arandis in 1991 and also has campuses at Keetmanshoop and Tsumeb.

The institution has approximately 3 800 students and 270 staff members.

It offers full-time apprenticeship/vocational skills upgrading and special/artisan assistant training. Courses focus on mining, manufacturing and engineering.

NIMT produces about 250 graduates per year. Most of them are employed by the mining sector.

OTIS FINCK

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