Friday 14 May 2021
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//Naobeb survives axing plot

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism this week rejected complaints submitted by NTB workers, which included the removal of Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) CEO Digu Naobeb.
The workers had previously petitioned the ministry over the state of affairs at NTB citing irregularities, mismanagement, victimisation and the board’s alleged failure to provide adequate oversight.
The workers wanted the ministry to remove Naobeb as CEO, dissolve the entire Paul Brinkmann-led board as well as to compel NTB to respect the Recognition Agreement between NAPWU and NTB.
The ministry’s acting permanent secretary Theo Nghitila this week responded to the workers saying “the CEO was appointed through an open, competitive and transparent recruitment process.
The CEO can only be dismissed on sound grounds of breach of his contract of employment after due processes have been followed.”
The workers took issue with the fact that NTB makes use of a private law firm to give advice on legal matters which costs the company millions of dollars.
“NTB has no company lawyer employed within the organisation and it was decided to outsource its legal services to reputable firm for objectivity on complex legal matters.
I am assured that the NTB is acting in the best interest of the institution and that the alleged expenditure in excess of N$1 million on staff legal issues is contrary to the Board approved financial statements for the external auditing purposes as reflected in the last financial year. This shows that NTB spent N$649,341.68 on legal costs for the KORA Awards, Sintech and HR related matters,” explained Nghitila.
According to Nghitila, the KORA Funds was not money appropriated towards NTB’s operations but “it was money funded by Government to purchase a Promotional Package for the purposes of promoting Namibia in Africa.
Due processes for this disbursement were followed.
The legal agreement was also drawn up with the assistance of the Attorney General. Currently, there is an on-going High Court Case, including a criminal case, on this matter. Since the matter is sub judice, no further details can be given on it,” he said.
The staff also complained that board members as well as staffers who do not deal with marketing activities often go on international trips at the expense of those employed to do marketing work.
Nghitila said travelling is “routinely necessary for NTB staff to market Namibia as a preferred tourism destination and not simply for fact-finding missions or conferences.”
Workers also complained that there is a conflict of interest on the part of some NTB board members who also own tourism entities. Nghitila sees nothing wrong with this.
“In the Ministry’s opinion, no-one knows the industry better than the people working daily in it, in particular those in leadership position.
These people are well-placed to advise the NTB on its strategy going forward, and this opportunity will be missed if the Union’s request for such persons to be side lined is granted,” said Nghitila.
Salary inconsistencies was another challenge that continues to give workers sleepless nights at NTB.
Although Nghitila admitted that the inconsistencies exist at NTB, he said it has been rectified.
“NTB asserts that it has conducted a salary benchmark study which was implemented in 2016. My office is also informed that NAPWU requested to assist the staff members in this matter by validating the calculations, to which the CEO has granted consent. However, NTB has to date not received any feedback from NAPWU,” said Nghitila.
There are also talks that there are two NTB staffers who have exceeded the retirement age.
Nghitila explained that: “The two staff members were employed in junior positions not requiring specialised skills for NTB to retain them beyond retirement age as there are graduates who can be employed.
One of the staff members’ interest was to pay off her house bond, which she bought very late, as per the written request in NTBs custody.
Continuing to receive a monthly salary, which if NTB had consented to, would have amounted to unethical practice,” he said.

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