By Staff Reporter
WINDHOEK, MARCH 9 — Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies worldwide, and their development is critical to job creation and economic growth. Recognizing this, many governments and financial institutions have prioritized supporting SMEs through various initiatives, including loan schemes.
In Namibia, the government launched the SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme in partnership with local banks such as Bank Windhoek and the Bank of Namibia. This initiative aims to support SMEs by providing them with additional funding to continue paying their operational expenses, retain employees and maintain financial stability.
Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer of Business Banking, Leon Koch, announced the bank’s support for the scheme, stating that access to finance is a crucial constraint to SME growth. Koch referenced World Bank financial statistics that SMEs generate the most formal jobs in emerging markets and that 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce. This makes SME development a priority for governments and financial institutions worldwide.
Through the scheme, Bank Windhoek will extend loans to qualifying SMEs at the Prime Lending Rate of less than 0.5 percent, with the obligation to pay the interest and capital deferred for six months from the day of signing the agreement. This is a significant relief for SMEs that have been severely impacted by the economic slowdown since 2016.
To qualify for assistance, SMEs should have an existing relationship with Bank Windhoek through lending or transactional banking, be a registered business entity with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), and have a maximum annual turnover not exceeding sixty million Namibia dollars per annum. It’s also essential to note that applicants should not have previously participated or have any existing SME Economic Recovery Loan with Bank Windhoek or any other financial institution.
SMEs can apply for assistance by visiting any Bank Windhoek branch or contacting the Bank’s Customer Contact Centre at Tel: +264 61 299 1200.
In conclusion, Bank Windhoek’s support for the Namibian Government’s SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme is a commendable move that will go a long way in supporting SMEs and promoting economic growth and job creation in Namibia. – Namibia Daily News