By :Fransina Nghidengwa
First National Bank Namibia, on Monday relaunched an updated SME value proposition to further support small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
FNB Namibia Chief Executive Officer, Erwin Tjipuka said they are also launching the Credit Guarantees Scheme to assist SMEs with access financing.
These solutions are aimed at equipping Namibian entrepreneurs with the necessary financing opportunities needed to grow their businesses and boost the economy.
“We believe these will help increase the level of SME activity and create a culture of entrepreneurship in the country,” he said.
Tjipuka says SMEs grow and scale successfully only with dedication toward their common goals.
In 2020, FNB and Development Bank of Namibia partnered to help entrepreneurs with the collateral constraints they faced to cover loans up to 60%. The size of the loan facilities ranged between N$50,000 to N$1,000,000.
“SMEs are the backbone of the Namibian economy and the growth of the SME sector which plays a vital role in employment creation as well as the social and economic development of the country. Namibia can gain much from optimising the capabilities of the SMEs through training, skills development, and access to the right financing,” Tjipuka said.
These, he says, will help them develop these capabilities, and help ensure Namibia remains well-equipped for the challenges that lie ahead.
Tjipuka emphasized how shared value thinking leads to sustainable decisions and actions which lead to sustainable growth, for the current and future stakeholders, the organization as well as society as a whole.
“We are creating a platform of hope for people to fulfill their dreams,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the government will help to prepare a robust SME sector that offers an opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs, especially youth, to enter the mainstream economy.
“As the economy starts to recover from a Covid-19-induced downturn, it is important that the financial sector renders appropriate support to businesses and thus supports the full recovery of the economy and propels it to a higher growth trajectory while addressing the inequities and strengthening the resilience of the economy to external shocks,” she said.
Echoing the government’s position, Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and National Service, Emma Kantema Gaomas, encouraged financial institutions and stakeholders to support initiatives which empower young entrepreneurs.
“We are reminded of the harsh reality of youth unemployment with the youth unemployment rate standing at 46.1,” she said.