NTB running out of funds, seeking govt intervention

Eba Kandovazu

THE Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), which in 2016 lost millions to the Kora Music Award organisers for a no show, will need the Government’s intervention to keep it going as of November this year.

The NTB board currently only has money to pay for salaries and operations until that month. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Digu //Naobeb says the board is currently engaging Government as a shareholder to seek intervention.

Sarl Mundial Telecom, a company owned by Ernest Adjovi, owner of the Kora Awards is being sued for US$ 1.5 million (N$ 23.5 million) which NTB paid in 2015 to host the show in Namibia. The show was scheduled for March 2016 although it never happened. A judgment in this matter has been reserved. “There is no sinister issue of maladministration or mismanagement of funds. This is as a result of the natural calamity. We are in discussions with the shareholder on this matter, who is busy attending to it. For the record Kora funds have no effect on our financial situation as this was a ring fence funding for this specific purpose. Surely there are legal cost incurred or to be incurred in any legal challenge in the high Court but such we are managing prudently,”//Naobeb says.

According to him, the board’s projections at this stage reflect that they might need additional funds after end of November to continue to operate, adding that the board’s largest portion of revenue is from tourism levies, which account for about 95% of its annual income. “As per sound corporate governance we are on the monthly basis conducting financial forecast and projections, which is appropriate practice for the businesses trading in sectors that are severely impacted by Covid-19 as this give rise to volatile and dynamic uncertainty. This is done so to test financial health of a business organisation and to institute timely necessary remedies. In fact, it is required by the Public Auditors and Accountants Board that business need to provide Going Concern determination as an auditing standard. So it is nothing of peculiar nature,” he says.

//Naobeb adds that international travelers reduced by 87% compared to arrivals in 2019, from 1.3 million as opposed to 2020 which is roughly 300,000, as q result of COVID-19. “The concomitant effect naturally is a decline in levy revenues. This indeed is a global phenomenon and trend and not peculiar to Namibia only,” he stresses.

Meanwhile, State Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister, Leon Jooste, did not comment on the matter, saying NTB is a non-commercial public enterprise reporting to the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Forestry. Ministry’s Spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, is yet to respond.

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