The first ever Small to Medium Enterprises bank for Namibia has been stalled by delays in appointing the 20 top managers, The Villager can reveal.
The SME bank, in which Government has 60% and Zimbabwean business tycoon, Enock Kamushinda owns 40%, was given a six-month provisional license by the Bank of Namibia to set up their structures and start operations.
It’s understood that the bank was supposed to have started operations last week Wednesday but the standoff on the appointments has caused the delay.
The major bone of contention between the SME Bank board chairperson Andrew Ndishishi, the current permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services who was instrumental in the creation of the bank and Kamushinda is on the appointments of the chief executive officer, finance director and the chief financial officer.
There is also a disagreement on how many Zimbabweans, some of whom were involved in the setting up of the bank, should be involved in strategic positions.
This has also led to the delay by the bank to acquire a full licence for full fledged operations.
Kamushinda, who is based in South Africa, has admitted that there are ‘complications’ but added that they were working around them.
He further said despite the ‘complications’, they had also covered enough ground in setting up structures.
“There are obviously complications that come with such an institution and we are working around those,” he said without making direct reference to the appointments issue.
“However, I am not well suited to answer questions and I will refer you to talk to the line minister and the Board Chair. He will definitely be able to give more insight on the proceedings. The chairman has all the information on the creation of the bank.”
Ndishishi who could neither confirm nor deny the standoff told The Villager that the bank will open its doors in August since the structures have already been laid down.
"We have covered enough ground and all I can tell you is that we are on course. I cannot give further details than that because it’s work in progress. Most of the preparations are according to plan and there have not been much hinderances," Ndishishi said.
Although MTI deputy minister, Tjekero Tweya could not comment on the standoff between the investors, he said Government expects the bank to start operations soon adding that all the directors and the Chairman have already been agreed upon but he could not give insight at the management structure or appointments saying it’s not under his nose.
“I know for certain that the board is there and they have been hard at work with preps but the actual management appointment is done by the board. I am not privy to that information,” said Tweya.
The Villager understands that although the regulating authority, Bank of Namibia are ready to give the bank a long term operating license upon expiry of their provisional license, SME Bank officials are still to come back to the central bank to reveal when they expect to start operations.
“We are waiting for them to come to us and tell us when they are ready to start operations but our understanding is that their preparations have gone well and are progressing so the day they come we are ready to inspect their setup and give them the license if we are satisfied,” said Ipumbu Shiimi BoN Governor.