Agribank urged to develop trustworthy relationship with clients

WINDHOEK: Minister Finance Calle Schlettwein has called on Agribank Namibia board members and management to have a healthy balance sheet for the bank.

Banks are successful only, if they have developed a relationship with their clients based on trust, Shcllettwein.

“To be trustworthy, a healthy balance sheet is an absolute must. I want to suggest that Agribank should aspire to get a credit rating of the highest possible level soonest,” said Schellettweing during the Agribank gala dinner on Friday.

The Finance Minister also urged the Agribank to support and serve the agricultural sector with financing instruments that are affordable, reliable and relevant to stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

He also encouraged the management to implement the Affirmative Action loan scheme as an important part of Namibia’s land reform program expeditiously.

“You must through affordable and relevant financial instruments facilitate the improvement and enhancement of the agricultural production both in quantity and quality to attain our goals to become a food secure economy,” said Schellettwein.

He said the agricultural sector, which is a source of income for about 16, per cent of households in Namibia, is key to job creation and poverty reduction.

It is however, he said, a cause of concern that the sector contribution to Gross Domestic Production is declining.

“It has been shedding jobs in recent times and productivity levels remain a concern. Measures to improve productivity in all sectors particularly for the animal husbandry sub-sector are especially important to raise incomes and production levels,” he said.

The same holds for crop production, holiculture, but also agro-processing and aquaculture in areas of comparative advantage.

The finance minister then encouraged the Agribank board members and the management to develop a strategy that will encourage agro-processing in the agricultural sector through the diversification of the loan book.