NBC Board tightens financial controls

The executive chairman of the Ohlthaver & List Group is also the chairperson of the Board of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation.

The incoming NBC Board, which is headed by chairperson Sven Thieme, said this week it will continue from where the previous Board left off to ensure the implementation of strict financial control measures to further improve the public broadcaster’s finances.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Thieme said the previous NBC Board had set itself a vision with three overarching metrics when it took over. The first was to increase own revenue to N$100 million, the second was to expand leadership training to all employees, and finally to exceed 67% coverage of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). All three targets were reached. “We established and redeveloped the value system and this has prompted us to put a good senior leadership team in place upon which the detail planning and execution of our new plan followed” said Thieme.
On the issue of concerns that have been raised over the NBC’s continued dependence on government subsides, Thieme said this will continue as the public broadcaster fulfils a national role in terms of making radio and television available to everyone. “NBC will always be funded by Treasury. If we were to run the NBC on a commercial basis, you would cut down on infrastructure costs that do not give a return” emphasised Thieme adding that subsidisation by the government has increased as a result of the substantial investment programme into the backlog of desperately needed infrastructure and to fund the digitalisation process. “Strictly speaking you would have to split the funding by the government between infrastructure investment and operational expense support to get a clear picture” he said.
When Thieme took over as Board chairman in 2010, the NBC’s budget deficit stood at N$42 million and N$43 million the following year. “These included quite a number of write-offs where certain assets shown in the books did not exist any more. For the last three years we basically showed a break-even, a N$3 million deficit in 2013, a surplus of N$14 million in 2014 and deficit again of N$10 million, and one must add that the numbers of the last three years still include some write-offs,” explained Thieme. The newly appointed NBC Board’s term ends on 25 May 2020.