MR - Let's Talk stakeholders information sharing road show

01 Jul 2020

“We need to run a sustainable Bank and not run it down. The Bank needs to continue to assist more people and not just the ones that were assisted in the past.” These were some of the sentiments expressed by Agribank’s Chairman, Michael Iyambo, at the start of Agribank’s countrywide stakeholder information workshops in Windhoek yesterday.

The Bank introduced the COVID-19 relief and stimulus package from 1 June 2020 to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the clients, while stimulating optimum production at the farm level. The objective of the road show to be held under the theme, “Let’s Talk”, is not only to share information about the stimulus package, but also to clarify issues and leave stakeholders with a better understanding on this matter.

Speaking at the event, Iyambo, stated that the Bank puts a premium on stakeholder engagements and consultations to foster mutual understanding about its operations and activities. He reiterated that the mandate of the Bank is only attainable through sound corporate governance and prudent management of funds. “As a Bank, we need to be sustainable and self-funding, hence our operational model should support sustainability and responsible lending at all times”, Iyambo noted.

According to him, the Bank has a deep appreciation of the challenges facing the agricultural sector, from prolonged drought, dwindling market prices, reduction in its contribution to GDP and of late, the impact of COVID-19. He explained that the stimulus package is an outcome of extensive consultations with key stakeholders from the farmers unions to the shareholder and internal staff members. “Naturally as is the case with consultations – not all proposals put forward by the diverse group of stakeholders emerge in the same format in which they were made.

However, Iyambo emphasised, that the package covers all relevant aspects that have emerged from these consultations; and the Bank endeavoured to come up with a package that is feasible under the current economic conditions, whilst responding to these issues.

He noted that “customers would always want more flexibility and relaxation of requirements, but, as a Bank, we can only do what is feasible and sustainable. Clients must also be prepared to meet the Bank half-way, instead of always demanding a free pass”.

On his part, Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, who provided a detailed overview on the mechancs of the stimulus package, explained that Government provided a guarantee for the Bank to borrow money for disbursement to qualifying clients in the form of stimulus loans. Nghikembua noted that the guarantee is not a physical transfer of funds from the Treasury to the Bank, but the latter is required to go out in the market to raise these funds – and do so at affordable interest rates. “This is naturally a challenge when you have clients whose payment record is not optimal”, Nghikembua cautioned.

According to him, it was important for the Bank and the shareholder to set minimal conditions, to ensure:
i)Financial sustainability through securing minimal cash inflows into the Bank during the relief period;
ii)That the Bank is able to carry out its mandate by honouring its commitments to clients whose loans have already been approved prior to the outbreak of COVID-19; and to assist new and repeat clients who need assistance throughout this period – including women and youth who face a high rate of unemployment in our country;
iii)The Bank continues to stimulate the agricultural sector through new loans extended.

The Agribank chief is therefore appealling to clients to embrace the COVID-19 relief and stimulus package and to take advantage of the various relief measures it offers. “It is a fair, reasonable and practical offering – balancing the interest of the tripartite partners - namely the Shareholder, Clients and the Bank. I implore stakeholders in the agricultural sector to deploy their energy and zeal under the new normal to stimulate production and optimise output”, Nghikembua concluded.

Issued by:

Rino Muranda
Manager: Marketing and Communication
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communications Division at:
Tel.: 061 2074332/Fax.: 061 2074206

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