Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Nico Smit has demanded a comprehensive response from finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi on how government will be able to allow Air Namibia to continue operating while insolvent.
“Do you not agree that by allowing Air Namibia to continue trading while knowing that it is bankrupt, the government is not only breaking the law as contained in the Companies Act but also seriously prejudicing creditors and the public,” Smit asked Shiimi in parliament last week.
He said, by tomorrow, he would want detailed explanation from Shiimi as to what steps the ministry has taken to re-capitalise the airline.
“If not, when will steps be taken to liquidate it,” he said.
“Can ordinary as opposed to non SOE and State creditors of Air Namibia expect to be compensated by Government in the event of the liquidation of Air Namibia since your Ministry is allowing a bankrupt business to continue operating.”
He said he would also want to know from Shiimi how much money Air Namibia currently owes the Namibia Airports Company, how much it owes the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for navigation services, and how much the airline has paid to the Namibia Airports Company since January this year.
“Why has the NAC not taken legal action against Air Namibia to recover outstanding debt? Are NAC and NCAA under political pressure to not recover outstanding debts from Air Namibia? If not, why have you not instructed them to do so?” Smit questioned.
“Do you agree that it a clear contravention of SOE good governance rules for Air Namibia to be allowed to not pay associated SOEs for services rendered to it,” he further questioned.
“Do you agree that it is a contravention of the Airports Company Act (Section 4.1 and 5.1(a)) and the Chicago Convention (Article 15) for the
Namibia Airports Company to allow Air Namibia to not pay its account in full on a monthly basis, thereby prejudicing other users of its airports who have to do so?”
During his state of the nation address this year, President Hage Geingob advised that Air Namibia be liquidated because of its constant financial woes and government bailouts.
“We have a very serious problem at Air Namibia. Firstly, Air Namibia was bailed out. Liquidation or whatever is going to be considered as one of the solutions. First stopping the Frankfurt route, some don’t want that but it must be restructured – and if liquidation is the thing, we must do that. It is not making any profit – just being bailed out,” Geingob said.