NBC blames problems on government

28 September 2018 Author  

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director-general, Stanley Similo has blamed government for the broadcaster’s woes after staff voted Tuesday to embark on a strike.Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director-general, Stanley Similo has blamed government for the broadcaster’s woes after staff voted Tuesday to embark on a strike.

He said government’s decision to cut its annual funding to the national broadcaster had negatively impacted on its operations, hence its failure to meet its employee’s demands for a salary hike.
“The reduction of the GRN subsidy to NBC with about N$200Million over the past two financial years and the impact there of on our operations is well-publicised,” said Similo.
“For the past two to three years, NBC has been communicating its challenges to the stakeholder; hence it’s for the stakeholder to address the matter.”
He, however, said the broadcaster had managed to increase its revenues, thus cushion it against the government cuts.
 “There seems to be a gross misconception that NBC is funded 100 percent funded by the stakeholder, this is not the case as own revenue contribution is 47 percent of the operating cost. Our revenue increased by 13.7 percent from N$102million to N$116million, meeting the set target, completely,” Similo said.
 “The stakeholder should come to the party and review the funding model, so that the NBC can carry out its mandate as a public broadcaster properly,” the NBC head said.
Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, the Chief Commercial Officer at NBC said the financial challenges faced by the NBC had greatly affected the stations operations at the broadcaster. 
“NBC is negatively impacted by the lack of funds, however, we continue to serve the nation through outdated equipment,” she said. 
Despite all the challenges Karuaihe-Upi said management will remain committed to good faith negotiation practices. 
“Unless the funding model is addressed, management cannot guarantee that future strikes will not happen again,” she said. 
Karuaihe-Upi said the national broadcaster’s management and members of the worker’s union, Namibia Public Worker’s Union (NAPWU), were currently still busy with negotiations. 
“At this stage it is not clear to say whether the strike will take place today or not. The 48 hours ends today at 9h00. Management and members of the worker’s union are still busy with negotiations,” said Karuaihe-Upi.  
If the strike takes place, the broadcasters viewing will be affected. 
“No scab labour (hiring any individual) may be engaged to replace the lawfully striking employees during the industrial action,” the strike rules read.
“If the strike goes ahead, Namibia will face a total broadcast blackout as from Friday 09h00. All 10 local radio stations including the popular National Radio will be off the air. NBC television and all online platforms will also experience a blackout,” one staff from the NBC newsroom said.
Questions addressed to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Stanley Simataa went unanswered.
 Simataa’s Personal Assistant, Epifania Lasarus said in an e-mail “Unfortunately the Minister will not be able to have an interview with you as his schedule is quite preoccupied.”
Permanent Secretary at the MICT, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said “People must leave NBC alone and do their own things.If a strike is not good for the country then the NBC staff who want to strike must be told that.” 
One staff member who does not want to be named said that NBC must pay up. “We are very serious about this. On Thursday afternoon, hazard tape was put. We want our money. We have been waiting far too long,” the worker complained.

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