Namdia’s rich pickings dry up . . . as board fees slashed

07 September 2018 Author   CHAMWE KAIRA

Lucrative board fees paid to the directors of State-owned diamond marketing company, Namdia, are now a thing of the past after they were slashed considerably following a public outcry, Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, has confirmed.Lucrative board fees paid to the directors of State-owned diamond marketing company, Namdia, are now a thing of the past after they were slashed considerably following a public outcry, Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, has confirmed.

The Windhoek Observer first reported in September last year that Namdia had spent N$3.9 million in board and retainer fees in just six months, which resulted in a public outcry with claims that the board was paying itself fees outside the State Owned Enterprises guidelines.
Jooste told the Windhoek Observer on Tuesday that Namdia, which has now been classified as Tier 3 Public Enterprise, can now only pay its chairman N$104,125 as an annual retainer fee and a maximum of N$57,490 as an annual sitting allowance, while other directors may earn N$85,058 and N$32,51,  respectively.
According to the 2017 Namdia Annual Report, the seven-member board earned almost N$4 million in board fees in six months which was more than the N$3,8 million that the company had paid in salaries to its entire staff complement.
Chairperson, Shakespeare Masiza, earned a cool N$616,597 in board fees while Venondjo Maharero earned N$577,279.
Other board members - Chris Nghaamwa, Florentia Amuenje, Lorentha Harases, Bonny Konjore and Tania Hangula - pocketed N$560,000. 
Masiza’s fees translated to just over N$102,000 per month, while Hangula and the other board members were paid N$96,000 and N$93,000 per month, respectively. 
The status of Namdia as a State Owned Enterprise has been unclear since its formation in 2016, but that has now changed following an update to the Schedule to the Public Enterprises Governance Act. 
“The argument as to whether Namdia is a Public Enterprise (PE) or not is now put to rest and Namdia will have to comply with all the provisions and directives henceforth. Namdia will fall under Tier 3 and the board will now be remunerated according to the latest guidelines,” Jooste said. 
“As a Tier 3 PE, the chair may earn a maximum of N$104,125.66 as an annual retainer fee and N$57,490.61 as an annual sitting allowance while directors may earn N$85,058.12 and N$32,511.00 respectively.”
In addition to ‘spot checks’ carried by the Ministry of Public Enterprises from time to time, Jooste said board fees must be disclosed in the audited financial statements in order for him to verify compliance.
“When we do this, we specifically verify that there are no other ‘hidden costs’ associated with the remuneration of board members. It’s important to always know what the actual total cost to company for boards are, and to do this, we include any travel cost (including subsistence and travel allowances), training and entertainment etc.”

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