Namibia: NWR loses N $ 174 million as Covid-19 destroys tourism
The decimation of the regional and international tourism industry by blockages and travel restrictions was the main reason Namibia Wildlife Resorts suffered a massive loss of around N $ 174 million in fiscal year 2019 / 20.
Presenting its results to the government as sole shareholder, NWR Chairman Leonard Iipumbu said: “In fiscal year 2019/20, we faced our greatest challenges as an organization. The milestone of our very first N $ 22 million profit since the founding of the organization and other financial gains made in 2018/2019 were wiped out due to Covid-19. However, to support its operations, which has led it not to lay off or reduce the salaries of its employees, except for the allowances of its board of directors and senior management. wages, NWR had to be innovative to survive. “
“Therefore, we were the first organization to offer our establishments to the government as isolation facilities. We have to say that this was an arrangement that few tourism companies were considering during this time,” Iipumbu said.
“In addition, we paid special attention to our domestic market, which enabled us to offer a reduced rate of N $ 600 per room from May to September 2020. This was a significant discount from our normal rates. . Through this effort, we were able to maintain the business and provide an indispensable service to the nation. We have also launched a new tour package which we believe will be one of the cornerstones of our future, ”added Iipumbu.
With a view to reducing costs, NWR has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU). The MoU resolved, among other things, to suspend salary increases for the 2019/20 fiscal year, suspend normal overtime, Sunday and holiday payments, and other allowances and benefits from March 27, 2020.
In addition, it also decided to impose a moratorium on external recruitments to ensure that the company’s payroll remains manageable. NWR also launched a voluntary departure initiative, in which 130 staff members participated. These efforts were aimed at helping it reduce personnel costs.
NWR Managing Director Matthias Ngwangwama said: “During the reporting period, the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Hospitality Institute (NWR Hi) was successfully established. In collaboration with the National Training Authority, the training arm of NWR (NWR Hi) was operationalized in 2020 and apprenticeships were awarded to 80 apprentices from the 14 regions of Namibia for the period 2020-2023 “.
Further, appreciating the role played by the media during the exercise, Ngwangwama said that “the negative media reporting that characterized us in the past has also dramatically diminished under review.
A positive media tone index (positive media reports exceeding negative reports) was achieved in 2020. At one point, the company was ranked 6th in terms of positive media coverage in 2020 by the NamMedia watchdog agency during the year”.
For his part, the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste thanked the board of directors and the management of the company for having managed relatively well the disastrous effects of Covid-19 on the company compared to trends in the sector.
NWR held its AGM on April 29, 2021 in accordance with the Public Enterprise Act 2019. During the AGM, the government was represented by the Minister of Public Enterprise Jooste and the new Deputy Minister of the Environment, Heather Sibungo.