03 September 2021 | Wirtschaft

Agribank thriving in uncertain times

Agribank has the mandate to lend money to individuals, business entities or financial intermediaries for the promotion of agriculture and related activities.

Despite the uncertainties brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank has delivered solid financial results for a fifth consecutive year. Rino Muranda, Manager for marketing and communication: Agribank

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU

For 2020/21 financial year, which ended March 2021, the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) delivered solid financial results for a fifth consecutive year, recording a surplus of N$37 million.

The board together with management of the bank presented the annual report to the government as the shareholder, represented by the ministers of finance and public enterprises, at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), that took place on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

According to Rino Muranda, the bank’s manager for marketing and communication in a media statement, loans to the value of N$217 million were disbursed, benefiting a total number of 1 301 customers.

Of this amount, a total of N$44 million exclusively benefitted female clients compared to N$21 million in the previous financial year. An amount of N$39 million was lent exclusively to the youth, while N$13 million was lent to communal farmers without collateral, Muranda pointed out.

“Despite the uncertainties brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank has delivered solid financial results for a fifth consecutive year. During the period under review, Agribank’s total loan book increased by 2%, while interest income increased by 1.2% owing to the prudent financial management coupled with an increase in the Bank’s money market investments. Expenses were contained at 6% and the operating surplus decreased by 30.9% to N$37.2 million in line with market conditions. Total assets grew by 12.2% from N$3.1 billion in 2019/2020 financial year, to N$3.4 billion in the 2020/2021 financial year,” Muranda said.

In terms of governance and prudential management, the bank achieved an overall score of 82.2% on the prudential standards rating based on the audited assessment during the 2020/21 financial year. This reflects effective controls, operational efficiencies, prudent financial management and good corporate governance across the business, he added.

On the farmers capacity building front, a total of 13 948 farmers country-wide benefitted from training and mentorship interventions by the bank, an increase from 8 035 during the previous period. These interventions are aimed at skill and knowledge transfer as well as changing attitudes towards farming as a business, while also promoting relationships between clients and the bank.

Sustainability

During the period under review, the bank has delivered on the promises made to the shareholder, during last year’s annual general meeting (AGM). Some of these include, delivering credible financial results for sustainability, smooth transition of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for business continuity and to ensure alignment of stakeholder expectations regarding the bank’s mandate and sustainable operations.

Going forward, the bank promised the shareholder to bring about reduction in arrears ratios from 24% to 22%, embedding the loan application automation system, implementing the hybrid cloud solution and use of robotics for improved administrative efficiencies. This is in addition to the high-level projects encapsulated in the new five-year strategic plan of the bank, he said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi, commended the Agribank board and management for making the bank vibrant, robust and dynamic over the past few years. The finance minister intimated that the bank has done “extremely well” despite a difficult operating environment to show positive trends in interest income, collections and expense management”. Shiimi also commended the bank for being one of the few public enterprises that produces annual reports and annual financial statements within the stipulated timeframes and obtaining an unqualified audit opinion in three consecutive financial years.

Agribank is a development finance institution whose mandate is to lend money to individuals, business entities or financial intermediaries for the promotion of agriculture and related activities.

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