310 SMEs benefit from Covid relief loan scheme

Iipumbu Shiimi
Iipumbu Shiimi

Finance and public enterprises minister Iipumbu Shiimi has revealed that 310 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from the SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme that was officially launched during Covid and relaunched earlier this year.

Shiimi said this during the end of the year press briefing at State House in Windhoek yesterday.

“SMEs are the backbone of any economy and if we can help them to survive and grow, we can grow the economy,” said Shiimi.

In October, during a Bank of Namibia editor and journalist engagement, the central bank revealed that a total of N$280 million has been disbursed.

“The SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme that was re-launched in February 2023 has to date disbursed N$280 million to 267 businesses operating in the construction, retail, manufacturing and oil and gas industries,” said central bank spokesperson Kazembire Zemburuka.

“We launched the credit guarantee scheme in 2020 and when we launched it, only two commercial banks were on board, however, now we have more commercial banks coming on board.

This scheme is delivered through commercial banks because they have more networks to reach more people,” said Shiimi.

Furthermore, Shiimi said the ministry is in the process of finalising the Venture Capital Fund which will aim to support businesses with higher gain potential, but which do not meet the requirements to acquire a loan.

“Some SMEs will not be able to benefit from loan capital, but they need equity capital and this scheme is aimed at those that have high growth potential,” said Shiimi.

Shiimi added that the ministry has also funded the equipment scheme being administered by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade.

“For a few years this scheme has been dormant, but we believe this is important and hence the funding was allocated this year.

Shiimi maintained that the agriculture sector is a priority for the government, despite being allocated only 0,8% of the total budget.

National Planning Commission director general Obeth Kandjoze said Namibia has not met many of the goals set out in Vision 2030.

“Many of the obligations that we set out still remain to be achieved under that tenure. We have obviously not met all of the goals set out there,” he said.

Kandjoze further gave an update on the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).

“The NDP5 is only 58% successful and this information is all available in the report that will be available to the public after Cabinet approval,” said Kandjoze.

He added that Namibia has received N$2 billion in green hydrogen grants.

Speaking at the event, president Hage Geingob said during a state visit to South Africa earlier this year, he and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa held discussions on endeavours to expand trade and investment prospects.

Geingob said paramount among these initiatives were ventures in the fields of green hydrogen and the oil and gas sectors.

“The visit served as a significant opportunity to consolidate our bilateral ties with South Africa, fostering not only economic growth but also synergy in critical sectors that will drive sustainable development for our nations,” said Geingob.

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