After more than 20 years, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) managed to record a profit for the first time since it was created in 1999. According to NWR chairman Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu, the institution recorded a profit of N$22 million this past financial year, which he noted is a N$41 million improvement on the 2018 financial year.
“We achieved this by increasing our revenue by 11% compared to the 2018 financial year and by keeping our operating expenses flat, despite inflationary pressures,” said Iipumbu at NWR’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held on 20 July 2020 to review the past year’s operations and present its 2018/2019 financial results.
For the first time, the AGM was held under the new commercial state-owned enterprise Act 2019 (Act 1 of 2019) that came into operation on 16 December 2019. At the meeting, the shareholder was represented by the Minister of Public Enterprise, Leon Jooste, and the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta.
However, at the AGM, the Iipumbu was quick to add that; “At the time of writing the 2018/2019 annual report, Covid-19 had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry is severe and devastating. With international travel restrictions effectively halting all progress in the tourism industry we will not be able to repeat the success of 2019”. Though, he highlighted that “the company has implemented critical measures to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 to ensure its sustainability. For example, the introduction of the extra-ordinary N$600 per room special, targeting the domestic market, is one of these measures”.
Newly-appointed NWR managing director Matthias Ngwangwama noted that “despite the change in leadership, the company continued to operate as normal. For instance, a profit scenario was recorded for the first time in our history, which, in my view, summarises the progress we made in terms of governance of the company”.
He went on to say that “there were also improvements in the adherence to standard operating procedures. Customer service levels also improved, and positive feedback was received from our customers. The negative media reports that characterised us in the past, also significantly improved. We will continue to build from the successes and improvements recorded in 2019 to improve even more in the 2020 financial year, albeit the disruptive and challenging times of
Covid-19,” said Ngwangwama.