Agribank engages union

16 Mar 2017

The Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU) and the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) applauded Agribank for engaging them on key strategic issues. These sentiments were expressed during a stakeholder engagement session initiated by Agribank with the Unions.

Towards the end of 2016, Agribank approved its new Strategic Plan to guide the operations of Agribank for the next five years. The Bank is committed to carrying out its mandate and creating sustainable stakeholder value through regular engagements in a way that fosters mutual understandingIt is against this background that the Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, held a stakeholder engagement session with key farmers’ unions this week.

The objective of the engagement session was amongst other things to share the key milestones achieved by the Bank over the past seven months, the operating environment, highlights of the Bank’s strategy and its focus for the future.

Detailing progress on the arrear collections strategy which intensified as from February this year, Nghikembua told the unionists that two external debt collecting companies in the names of RedForce and United Africa Group were appointed to assist the Bank with arrear collections.

He noted that the response is very positive as many clients have already contacted either the Agribank offices or those of the contracted debt collecting agents to make arrangements, whilst others have made down payments on their arrears. “We already have commitments-to-pay from customers in excess of N$20 million. This amount increases daily as new repayment agreements are made with customers. We now also have on board the second debt collector and are busy handing over a portion of the arrears book to them before they start interacting with clients. We are confident that we will see good repayment inflows in 2-3 months’ months”, stated Nghikembua.

Nghikembua reiterated that Agribank can only be sustainable if money owed to the Bank is repaid to enable it to lend it further and have a bigger developmental impact as per its mandate. “The clients who are ignoring or refusing to cooperate with the duly appointed debt collectors are doing it at their own risk. These agents have been appointed and are acting fully on behalf of the Bank. We are fully aware that clients will not necessarily be able to repay all their arrears at once, nor do we expect them to. What we do expect is that suitable arrangements should be made to settle the debts over a reasonable period of time”, the Agribank chief stated.
On their part, both NECFU and NAU expressed appreciation to Agribank for recognizing them as key stakeholders as is evident through engagements of this nature. The unions further stated that they are now clear about the direction that the Bank is heading and promised to share the information with their respective members.

Agribank is a state-owned financial institution with the mandate to advance money to persons or financial intermediaries for the promotion of agriculture and activities related to agriculture.

END

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