WINDHOEK, 26 JUN – The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) disbursed N$304 million in new loans during the 2016/17 financial year, the bank’s latest annual report shows.
Of this amount, farmland purchases constituted N$103 million, livestock loans N$44 million and productive infrastructure improvements N$29 million.
The report, which was tabled by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein in the National Assembly last week, further shows that resettled farmers received N$7 million in funding for the period under review.
“The bank has proposed changes to the Ministry of Land Reform in order to make the Post-Resettlement Support Fund more meaningful for resettled farmers,” reads the report.
This engagement will continue in the current financial year, it added.
In the report, Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer Sakaria Nghikembua projected that the next two to three years will be challenging for the bank.
“Climatic conditions remain volatile and unpredictable. Government’s fiscal consolidation efforts are likely to continue and economic growth will remain subdued,” he said.
Agribank’s interest income increased by 6 per cent, from N$157.4 million in 2016 to N$167.5 million in 2017.
Similarly, interest income on investments increased by 17,6 per cent from N$16 million in 2017 to N$18.9 million in 2017, resulting from higher investment balances and better yields during the year under review.
Furthermore, the general administrative expenses of the bank rose by 11 per cent from N$109.1 million in 2016 to N$121.4 million in 2017.
This was attributed to an increase in staff cost of 12 per cent, provision for actuarial valuation on post-retirement medical benefits (N$4.4 million), new subscription fees for the use of rangeland monitoring tools (N$1 million) and increased depreciation due to the acquisition of new assets for the bank (N$4.2 million).
Nghikembua noted that they have laid a solid foundation for the bank over the past financial year.
However, more needs to be done for its clients to ensure its financial sustainability and to become an employer of choice.