Billions budgeted for upgrade of Telecom infrastructure

Stefanus Nashama

Telecom Namibia has revealed its plans to invest N$2.3 billion in the upgrading and replacing of the company’s ageing infrastructure over the next five years, to improve and maintain its service delivery to clients.

Telecom Namibia Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Shanapinda, made the revelations this week during an interview with Windhoek Observer.

According to Shanapinda, the money would be spent through the rollout of fibre, replacing the Fixed Mobile Convergence Core, Operations Support Systems, Business Support System and mobile expansion.

He said the company is obliged to invest 15 percent of its revenue in capital projects to maintain a state-of-the-art network, as aligned to industry best practices.

While further revealing that Telecom recorded a profit after tax of N$ 1,1 million in 2021 and N$ 33,6 million in 2022 financial years.

Telecom employees, during a recent protest, demanded that the company should replace ageing infrastructure and stolen cables as a matter of urgency because it is hampering service delivery.

To this, Shanapinda highlighted that infrastructure is one of the pillars of the service delivery formula as indicated in the company’s Integrated Strategy Business Plan 2027.

According to him, the Integrated Strategy Business Plan 2027 indicates that Telecom Namibia operates with various obsolete technologies, which the company plans to replace or upgrade, as part of its network modernisation and digital transformation journey.

Telecom employees through their labour union Namibia Public Workers Union, have also accused Shanapinda and other company executives of misusing the institution’s resources.

However, Shanapinda challenged the union or anybody else making such claims to gather all evidence and approach the Anti-Corruption Commission.

“We have a Code of Conduct Policy, and we have zero tolerance for misuse of company resources. However, any false allegations are taken seriously, and we reserve our legal rights to protect our good name and reputation, individually and jointly,” he stressed.

The CEO further indicated that a reputable auditing firm has been auditing the company’s financial statements annually and results are contained in the annual reports for public scrutiny.

“Approval for all expenditures is obtained in line with the company policies and procedures, following a delegation of authority, which is in place, he added.

With regards to other demands made during the demonstration which was mainly spearheaded by employees the Head Office, Shanapinda, said guidelines for engagement between Telecom Namibia and the Union are contained in the Recognition Agreement.

“We are studying the demands and we will revert to the Union soonest with a detailed response,” he assured.

The CEO has also put it out that Telecom and NAPWU are scheduled to have further negotiations on the 6th and 7th of September 2023 and outstanding matters are foreseen to be attended to at the session. While also explaining that employees have the right to air their views at any given time.

Telecom employees are also demanding salary increments and performance bonuses while accusing management of paying themselves salary increments with back pay but ignoring workers’ requests.

“We are fully aware of the plight of the employees given the global costs of living crisis, and high inflation. As a caring company, we hope that we can meet each other halfway after our scheduled engagement with the union,” he noted.

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