The author, Alexactus T Kaure, alleges: “And in the midst of all the stealing, mismanagement and secrecy that goes on at many of our parastatals, to which the politicians turn a blind eye; parastatals have become some of the biggest ‘black holes’ eating away a good chunk of public resources even though their missions were meant to be self-sufficient. Basically all the SOEs receive bailouts from government, even those said to be money-spinners like NamPower or Telecom.”
Such naked disregard for facts is not only astounding but regrettably blots the reputable Telecom Namibia brand.
Telecom Namibia recently celebrated its birthday under the theme, ‘20 years of transformation, growth and success’. This theme is not a mere public relations platitude but reflects the two eventful decades in the life of Telecom Namibia. The company’s successes during the challenging phases of transformation have been phenomenal. The major role played by Telecom Namibia in shaping the Namibian telecommunications landscape is fully documented and widely acknowledged by society in general.
To start with, Telecom Namibia has dutifully paid hundreds of millions in taxes and dividends to the national treasury since incorporation.
Our Fitch credit rating remained at BBB- over the past three years with Telecom Namibia one of three known SOEs that subject themselves to such scrutiny.
In keeping with good corporate governance, the identification of risks and opportunities is a core activity throughout Telecom Namibia. Control is exercised at company level, monthly monitoring of performance by comparison with budgets and forecasts and through regular business reviews at management and board levels. This systematic approach to managing risks, including financial risk, is performed on a planned or embedded basis and is implemented throughout Telecom Namibia.
A local weekly paper, in its recent review of “2012 most influential personalities” named the company’s MD Frans Ndoroma and singled out Telecom Namibia as “one of the few parastatals that have comprehensive balance sheets.”
Speaking at the 2012 Telecom Namibia Performance Awards, Managing Director Frans Ndoroma revealed that the company’s turnover for the 2011/12 financial year amounted to approximately N$1,242 billion, a year on year growth of 8.76 percent. This annual turnover is up from the N$225 million achieved in the first year of operation as a commercial entity. Earnings before interest, taxation and depreciation/amortisation or EBITDA of N$272.5 million was realised from the N$80 million in 1993. Equity to debt ratio stands at 2.2, while cumulative retained earnings over the past 20 years have ballooned to N$1 billion.
Since 1992 Telecom Namibia made capital investments amounting to N$3.15 billion. Not a single dollar of this money came from the national treasury.
Without any government bailout, Telecom Namibia has grown its asset base considerably. Total net assets now stand at N$2.1 billion from a humble N$106 million in 1993.
In the area of social responsibility, Telecom Namibia’s statutory mandate goes well beyond being financially self-sufficient. The company has established itself as a model organisation in terms of its social role. Nation-building continues to form a core component of our social initiatives, under which we endeavour to bridge the digital divide and provide support to underprivileged communities to create greater socio-economic equity.
These are the few facts about Telecom Namibia which refute any suggestion that this great Namibian icon survives on bailouts from government. A self-proclaimed expert on parastastals, Alexactus Kaure should desist from portraying allegations as facts.
Senior Manager: Corporate Communications & Public Relations