Financially-crippled Air Namibia’s wings clipped permanently
The Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi on Thursday said it was never an easy decision to file for voluntary liquidation of the country’s national airline, Air Namibia.
This matter had been a standing item on the Cabinet Committee on Treasury agenda for a considerable period of time, Shiimi said at a press brief in Windhoek.
After considering a number of strategic alternatives, government approved a plan to liquidate the national airline and according to Shiimi, the difficult decision was taken after careful consideration of the various options to save the national airline.
“All options assessed point to the fact that the national airline is not profitable and it has not been profitable since its inception,” he said, adding that government had spent about N$8 billion in supporting Air Namibia.
According to the minister, at this stage, the country’s economy, can no longer afford to perpetually provide financial support to Air Namibia at the expense of supporting economic growth and critical social services.
The minister said as Chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Treasury together with Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, it was agreed to appoint internal staff members from both the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Enterprises to serve as Interim Board Members.
“Therefore, the notion that there was a State House intervention on this matter is not correct,” he added.
Shiimi went on to announce the appointment of Marten Ashikoto, Director of Assets, Cash and Debt Management in the Ministry of Finance and Tjiuee Kaura, holding a position of a director at the Ministry of Public Enterprises to serve as interim board members.
Meanwhile, Air Namibia flight operations have been cancelled and to add salt to injury, in the coming week, the beleaguered airline still has to honour last month’s agreement/settlement to pay N$107 million as a first installment to Challenge Air.