STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF NAMIBIA AIRPORTS COMPANY DR LEAKE HANGALA, AT THE AGM PRESS CONFERENCE AT NIPAM ON 22 JUNE 2020
It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to take stock on the performance and achievements at Namibia Airports Company as we concluded the just ended Annual General Meeting.
Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.” -Robin Sharma
I find the above quote very appropriate on this day – a day I think that will go down in history as one of the greatest achievements of the NAC and the achievement of us – the Board of Directors. We, the Board of Directors have taken small steps over the period of our tenure in taking the institution to greater heights and today we can celebrate the stunning results.
As we briefed you earlier in January 2020, the organization has been in transition after experiencing various governance and stability challenges over the past years. But today, as a Board we are pleased to inform the Namibian nation that during our tenure, the company has gained momentum in moving forward and it gives us comfort and confidence to state without a doubt, that a solid and functioning framework has been established under the pronounced leadership of Mr. Bisey /Uirab and this has resulted in us celebrating so many achievements today.
Allow me to highlight some of those achievements:
COMPLIANCE WITH GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK
As a commercial enterprise governed under the Public Enterprises Governance Act, 1 of 2019, the organization held its Annual General Meeting earlier today to report on the following issues that are governed under the Public Enterprises Governance Act; the NAC Act and also the Companies Act.
Audited Financial Statements
Over the past two years, there has been a concerted effort to conclude the outstanding Annual Financial Statements for the years ending 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Today, we have presented these Statements to our Shareholder for approval and although some may view the content of the statements as historical issues, we view it as an enormous achievement to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the provisions relating to the legal framework referred to above and a governance check on the financial statements will indicate that the organization is now current and compliant.
The financial statements for the year ending 2020 are under review and it is envisaged to complete the statements within the set legal framework and to be fully compliant by the end of September 2020.
You will agree with me, that this is testimony that the organization is committed to enhance corporate accountability, transparency and compliance.
The Annual Budget:
Due to the COVID - 19 pandemic, the NAC had to review the 2020/2021 budget. This budget has been approved by the Board and are to be presented for approval by the Shareholder.
Again, this signifies the commitment of the Board to comply with the prescribed legislative framework.
Allow me to highlight a few matters contained in the budget:
The budget took into account activities that would guarantee achievement of the strategic objective of the company – to ensure the continuity of safe and secure airports in line with our mandate;
A deferment on all capital expenditures except those that are related to compliance and safety or those that are of national importance such as the HKIA Congestion Alleviation Project and the Eros Runway Holding Action.
Ceasing all discretionary operational expenditure and focusing on expenditure that has already been committed to or those expenditures that cannot be deferred or avoided.
A significant reduction on staff related cost in freezing non - compliance positions, encouraging job sharing, suspension of salary increments and extending much needed assistance to our social partners.
An undertaking is made to have quarterly review on the Annual Budget during this unprecedented crisis as we all remain unsure of what the future holds.
The consolidated Namibia Airports Company Annual Report for the financial years ending 2017 – 2019 is at an advanced stage and it is envisaged to present the report the Shareholding Ministry by the end of July 2020.
We want to call on the Shareholder, the media and the nation at large, to hold us accountable to this undertaking as we stand today and make a commitment – let us also show you that we will achieve what we have promised as a responsible corporate citizen.
Integrated Strategic Business Plan
In pursuit to ensure that we manage airports on sound business principles and with due consideration of our stakeholders, it is imperative to outline a roadmap to direct the operations. To this end, the Integrated Strategic Business Plan was developed in- house, without the assistance of any external Consultant, for a five-year period. This plan was approved by Board at its meeting held on 05 June 2020 and the plan will be presented to the Shareholder Ministry on the 25th of June 2020.
Members of the media, if one considers the provisions of the Public Enterprise Governance Act in relation to Chapter 3 (specifically talking about the governance of Public Enterprises), then you must agree with me, the NAC has indeed achieved a lot and must be complemented on these achievements!
Like any organization, there will always be challenges, and the situation of the NAC is not unique as we are grappling with the biggest challenge - the impact of Covid -19 on the aviation industry.
The following was released by Airports Council International on the impact of the pandemic:
“As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, passenger traffic continues to drop to historic lows and the financial situation of airports has deteriorated to an unprecedented level. All major airports are facing catastrophic declines in traffic volumes, and, in many instances, either near or complete closure of infrastructure to regular commercial operations of passenger airlines. The situation is asphyxiating the airport industry financially, threatening the preservation of essential operations, millions of jobs, and the ability of the airport industry to recover from the crisis”
The above statement from ACI unequivocally articulates the precarious position the aviation industry finds itself in.
The question now remains - how will the NAC gear itself towards averting the devastating impact of the pandemic?
Let me use this opportunity to inform you that the NAC has taken a strategic decision to lead industry consultation to conceptualize the road map of the aviation industry in Namibia. It is believed that this forum will bring together strategic partners to advance further developments of the aviation industry to position Namibia as a regional logistic hub in line with the national development plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, but also to devise a framework where Namibia will make itself visible as tourism destination and where the local industry will ensure that demand is created to attract the world (tourists, investors, students) to our beautiful country.
The above interventions would be necessary to re-emphasis the significant role airports, specifically the NAC plays in the global economy – the role to facilitate trade and investments, employment creation and the enhancement of travel and tourism which result in increased direct, indirect and induced benefits for the economy.
These engagements are still to be held and we are looking forward to healthy and new discussions on the future of the aviation industry.
NAC was always “notorious” for its decisions that resulted in legal challenges. The same issue was highlighted at our briefing of January 2020 and it allows me great pleasure to report that we have successfully defended two significant matters i.e.
NAC // China State Construction Engineering Company – NAC filed a self-review application in the High Court seeking the setting aside of the purported award of a tender to China State Construction Engineering Corporation for Phase 2 of the Taxiways and Apron Rehabilitation works at Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Airport.
Judgment in the matter was delivered by the High Court on 10 June 2019 in favour of NAC, in terms of which the purported award of the said Phase 2 project has been set aside with costs. China State Construction Engineering Corporation appealed to the Supreme Court and the appeal was heard 7 May 2020 and the judgment delivered was in favour of the NAC, thus confirming the decision of the High Court.
Fire Tech Systems CC//NAC – Fire Tech Systems instituted action proceedings against the NAC seeking payment of U$1, 908, 216.81 allegedly for damages pursuant to it not having been awarded the tender for the airport scanners. NAC defended the matter and whilst the matter was postponed for a status hearing to be held on 11 June 2020, a letter of withdrawal of the action was received from the Legal Practitioners of record of Fire Tech on 02 June 2020, simultaneously tendering to pay NAC’s legal cost.
With the above two matters finalized, the current outstanding legal matters that are subject to proceedings in the courts of Namibia stand at only at four (4) – this is indeed an achievement given the size and complexity of the operations of the NAC
HOSEA KUTAKO CONGESTION ALLEVIATION PROJECT
When one hears NAC, then you have to look at the Hosea Kutako airport our flagship airport and biggest port of entry to Namibia.
The following is an update as to the status of the above project:
The expansion project is envisaged to address congestion challenges, safety and security issues and to comply with the national and international regulations and standards as follows:
The extension in the Passenger Terminal 2, will improve the level of service to passengers in accordance the IATA “optimum” level of service.
The expansion on the airside (apron) will be able to accommodate current and future demand including aircraft parking stands, in compliance with national and international regulations and standards.
These works will also allow for separation between the international domestic passengers once both Terminal 1 and 2 are completed.
The project team has been analysing the full extent of the COVID-19 impact to the project, as well as the ripple effect of post lockdown delays with regards to material and equipment supplies and have put in measures to address these challenges.
With that said, Nexus Contactors and the Project team are capitalising on the down time of airport operations to ensure continued construction works at HKIA. I am glad to report that the project has resulted in the creation of 226 Namibian employees.
Should Namibia graduate to Stage 4 of the State of Emergency Regulations, we expect a gradual opening of borders to selected countries soon and normal flight schedules are expected to resume subject to screening and quarantine protocols.
Allow me to re-assure our esteemed clients that the company has made considerable efforts on re-start plans for all our airport to ensure that operations will comply to the required protocols and amidst the pandemic.
I am indeed delighted to announce that we scoped a third best plan for an African Airports restart competition by the Airports Council International (ACI) out of the twelve competing airports.
Finally, over and above this briefing, allow me to extend my profound gratitude to our shareholders for their unwavering support in transforming the organization. Let me also sincerely thank the management team and employees for their dedication and commitment on the journey to render improve the operations to the satisfaction of stakeholders and esteemed clients.
I thank you!