Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has urged existing commercial Banks to localise part of their shareholding, including listing the Namibia Stock Exchange.
Speaking during a media briefing last week, she pointed out that local Banks should look into selling 25% of their equity to local investors by 2025.
She added that the Ministry is making it a licensing condition to compel banks to have local shareholding in the future.
24 years after Independence, major Commercial in the country, Standard Bank, First National Bank and Nedbank Namibia are 100% South African shareholding.
The other banks that are locally owned are Development Finance institutions including the SME Bank which is a public private partnership, Agribank and Development Bank of Namibia which are wholly owned by the Government.
Former Standard Bank CEO Pumzi Pupuma said in his farewell dinner speech in June that Standard Bank Namibia is targeting to have at least 25% local shareholders by 2019. Since 2007, Standard Bank has also shown progressive change in its leadership as it managed to turn around the bank directorship from 90% foreign representation to the current situation where 90% of the directors are locals.
As part of the policies aimed at promoting better financial products and services, the finance minister also noted that the cash deposit fees are to be scrapped out by March 2015.
The first steps towards the total removal of the cash deposit have been achieved as she pointed. “It has always been our expectation that we ensure a total removal of cash deposit fees as a chargeable item by 2015.
To that end, and after considering all the inputs from the banking sector, BoN has issued further standards on the complete removal of cash deposit fees by 31 March 2015.”
The banking institutions are at liberty to remove these cash deposit fees in a phased approach, provided that this is completely achieved by 31 March 2015.
Cash deposit fees can remain a chargeable item on big businesses and corporate accounts,” she noted.
Other policy initiatives in the pipeline as she revealed is the investigation into the viability of central security depository and a study to explore the viability of a credit guarantee scheme. Those studies are aimed to enhance access to finance by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“Once established it will better facilitate the recording and trading of all securities in Namibia and hence deepening the capital market infrastructures.
Also the recently amended regulation28 and 15 will help to direct more of domestic savings to domestic investment, especially to unlisted entities,” she said.
She added that, “Work to determine the optimal framework for consumer protection has started, aiming at creating an improved and comprehensive legal framework that will protect consumers of financial services”.