DE BEERS Group donated a Covid-19 testing machine to the government as part of the N$15 million it committed to fighting the new coronavirus outbreak.
The machine, a LineGene 9600 Plus model, was delivered to the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) in Windhoek yesterday. Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula, who received the donation on behalf of the government, said the machine will be vital in the government’s efforts to increase testing capacity. The machine will be placed at the NIP, together with various other items donated by De Beers, including test kits, fridges, freezers and an uninterrupted power supply unit.
NAC introduces relief measures
THE Namibia Airports Company has introduced relief measures for its customers to ensure the continued survival of the industry.
According to a media statement, the NAC board of directors approved relief measures including payment terms, which means that the NAC resolved to not charge interest or late payment penalties for customers who fail to meet the 30-day payment terms between 1 April and 30 June 2020.
In a bid to ease customers’ cash flow burden, the NAC said it will waive all interest accrued on overdue amounts between 31 March and 30 June.
It further noted that all rent for all concessionaires and airlines will be waived for a period of three months, while the concessionaire charge remains applicable to all.
The NAC also published new tariffs for the financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22, with a 4,6% inflationary increase applied to passengers, security and aircraft parking fees, with effect from 1 April.
The landing fees remain constant for the two financial years.
Bank assets risk expected to rise
NAMIBIAN banks’ asset risk is expected to rise with mounting household debt amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Moody’s Investors Service has indicated.
The credit ratings agency in a media statement issued to Nampa on Tuesday said rising household indebtedness amid the pandemic is credit negative for Namibian banks, particularly lenders providing unsecured loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, because it diminishes households’ capacity to service debt.
Moody’s further expects banks’ non-performing loans to continue increasing over the next 12 to 18 months, as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will place further pressure on the economy. Namibian banks have high exposure to households, with residential mortgages, personal loans and credit cards contributing about 47% of total loans at year-end 2019, the statement said.
NMH cuts staff salaries
NAMIBIA Media Holdings (NMH) has announced plans to reduce employees’ salaries by 20% in light of the economic decline the country is facing. In a statement issued by its chief executive officer, Albe Botha, the company, which publishes Republikein, Allgemeine Zeitung and Namibian Sun, said it has reduced its working week from 45 to 36 hours, and has reduced employee remuneration accordingly.
Staff have been given the option of freezing their contributions to their pension fund and realigning their medical aid and social security contributions accordingly.
Botha said the salary cut takes into consideration the reduction in fuel prices and interest rates, as well as a 5% salary increase staff received in January. – Roxane Bayer/Nampa