NBC cuts transmission time, broadcasting services amid budget cuts

09 Sep 2019 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 09 SEP (NAMPA) – The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) will cut transmission hours and some of its broadcasting services as a measure of cutting costs, effective 10 September 2019.
The austerity measures come at the back of an accrued debt of N.dollars 150 million, which has been accumulating at an average rate of N.dollars 15 million per month.
Speaking at the media conference here on Monday, NBC’s Chairman Board of Directors, Sven Thieme, said the proposed austerity measures are in view of the unstainable operational expenses, which include the broadcasting hours on NBC1, which will be reduced to 07h00 to 21h00.
Other services to be cut include the frequency of English Television News Bulletins to only run once per day at 20h00; National Assembly and National Council live sessions on NBC2; Movie Channel on NBC3, while all radio stations are also to broadcast from 07h00 to 21h00 daily.
Further measures include the limiting of staff travel from duty stations to assignments, while all foreign travels will be suspended unless paid for in full for man hours by the initiated entity; payments of directors already discontinued and no live broadcasts will take place, unless paid for and risk limitations in coverage of the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly Elections, unless fully financial supported.
Equally the current employment of 571 staff complement may be renegotiated with the aim to reduce cost linked to current and future employment benefits structure, including leave, medical aid, retirement and insurance.
“The above proposed measures are not taken lightly and their impact on many stakeholders, staff and the public cannot be overemphasised. However, as directors we must at all times act in the best interest of the NBC, owing the corporation the duty to act with care, skill and diligence,” he said.
Thieme noted that at present, the directors are unable to vouch that the NBC is able to meet all its liabilities and can continue as a viable business.
He further said NBC is not a fully commercially viable business given its mandate and the subsidy from its shareholder, government, has reduced from N.dollars 237 million in 2014/2015 financial year to N.dollars 140 million under the 2019/2020 financial year.
Thieme, however, indicated that the corporation managed to grow revenue from N.dollars 90 million recorded in the 2014/2015 financial year to N.dollars 100 million in the current financial year.
“The funding level cannot be improved to ensure that it is commensurate with planned spending. It would be prudent to consider the liquidation of the NBC,” he added.