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Mid-term budget flies past Air Namibia


The national airliner, Air Namibia, which has been struggling to stay in the air has not been reallocated any money during yesterday’s Mid-term budget review.

Finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi failed to throw the airliner a much-needed lifeline, leaving Air Namibia to rely on meagre resources for the remainder of the financial year.

Shiimi, however, extended some financial reprise for two other struggling state-owned enterprises – Namibia Wildlife Resorts and TransNamib.

State-Owned Enterprises minister Leon Jooste is however hopeful that with the resumption of flights, the airline should be able to manage midst a pandemic-induced shock in the tourism sector.

“There is no additional allocation now to Air Namibia in the mid-term budget but the government has agreed that we will continue to pay the salaries,” he said.

The salary bill of the airline is N$27.5 million a month, something the government has been struggling to manage.

 As far as the future of the airline is concerned, Jooste said, “we will see what happens”.

Due to the more than six months of hard circumstances, Jooste said it would be very harsh of him to knock these SOEs for poor performance.

“We have been very careful that nobody abuses the pandemic to benefit. We made sure that only those that are seriously affected that they receive any sort of benefit but even those are very limited,” he said.

A whole new performance-based culture will be implemented and in future, CEOs and other executives will receive a fair basic salary but the difference between that and what they are getting now will be contained in a performance bonus. The same goes for boards. 

He said the only problematic aspect with implementing this arises on account of conditions in the labour act and current contracts which they may not be willing to renegotiate.

“It’s a bit hard to implement that quickly,” he said.

Julia Heita

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