… As operating losses plunge to N$56m
By Hilary Mare
TELECOM Namibia is firmly on a recovery path, with its operating losses plunging to N$56 million during the 2014/15 financial year, compared to N$205 million in 2013/14.
This was revealed in the parastatal’s annual report for 2014/15, which was presented in the National Assembly last week.
Its comprehensive losses were N$84 million during the period under review, down from a figure of N$556 million in 2013/14.
Expressing optimism about the results, Telecom Namibia board chairperson, Catherine Beukes-Amiss said in the report that the reduction in losses was a positive sign that indicated a change in fortunes for the State-owned enterprise.
“The improved financial performance is attributable to improved cost management practices, which resulted in a reduction in operating expenses, managed capital expenditure and an improved gross profit margin of 72 percent, compared to 69 percent in the prior year,” she said.
Bad debts written off by Telecom during the accounting period amounted to N$121 million for the group and N$113 million for the company.
Current liabilities exceeded current assets by N$737 million for the group and N$577 million for the company.
Telecom implemented a new billing system during the 2014 financial year and severe challenges were experienced with its implementation, which resulted in a backlog in the allocation and clearing of customer payments. Total unallocated receipts from customers amounted to N$33 million, the report said.
Telecom reported that “significant judgement” was used by management to determine the ageing of its receipts and this ageing was included in the calculation of its doubtful debts.
Telecom Namibia Acting Managing Director, Theodorus Klein, highlighted that the company was improving processes across the business, in order to keep appointment slots, repair faults more quickly and fulfil new orders faster.
“We are also working to improve how we interact with our customers, through the introduction of better quality contact information, customer portals and self-service channels that will give customers more ways to resolve their problems quickly,” Klein said in the annual report.
“We are happy to report that good progress was made with the turnaround plans. We have reduced the debt level and honoured debt obligations of more than N$524 million, improved the cash flow with cash collections exceeding N$1,5 billion, reduced service order backlogs and expedited service delivery, including fault orders, which were more than halved, and expedited the rollout of 267 GSM base stations and continued with redeploying the NSN base stations.
“We have also migrated CDMA customers to the GSM network and sold the CDMA platform, stabilised the fixed billing platform, addressed customer service strategies with improved network monitoring and configuration management, and the 30 TDD/LTE base stations, to address the demand for broadband for broadband access is on track,” he said.
Telecom is the country’s leading broadband and backbone infrastructure service provider. It provides a range of services, including fixed, mobile, data, internet and digital solutions.
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