Agribank reassures women and young people about loans

AGRIBANK has given assurances that all Namibians eligible for their collateral-free loans under the Women and Youth Program will receive financial assistance for their projects.

It comes after a young Namibian, Namene Nekwaya, complained that his loan application to set up a hydroponics project was rejected by the bank’s Oshakati branch despite meeting the set criteria.

“The bank is not doing what it promises the nation. I am disappointed because it took me between four and five months to prepare my business proposal and find companies to buy my products. They rejected it without even going through it.

“To make matters worse, a friend in a similar situation got a loan and is now a farmer. Bank staff in Oshakati derailed my plans,” Nekwaya said last week and accused the bank of misleading the public.

“Since I was unemployed, I thought about using my skills and education to start an agricultural business, but the bank let me down,” he said.

Nekwaya is a graduate of the University of Namibia, the University of Science and Technology of Namibia, as well as the University of Ghana.

Agribank spokeswoman Fillemon Nangonya last week dismissed the allegations and said there appeared to be a misunderstanding between Nekwaya and officials at the Oshakati branch.

“The cash loan facility is available to the public. Many young people who have qualified under this facility have been funded and they are busy cultivating right now,” he said.

Nangonya advised Nekwaya to contact the bank “so that we can raise the matter with the person who assisted him so that we understand what was discussed between the two.”

Nekwaya said he had already filed a written complaint with the bank about the issue.

According to the bank, there are three categories of Namibians eligible for the women and youth program: young people up to the age of 35, women of all ages and agro-professionals.

There are three financing options under the loan program. Cash flow loans are for short-term loans with no collateral required from customers who do not own real estate or have limited collateral on their real estate.

“Funds to be borrowed are based on the company’s projected cash flows,” the bank said.

Payroll secured loans are medium to short term loans with no collateral required from customers, but monthly payment is made through payroll deductions or debit orders.

For those wishing to purchase agricultural land, the collateral requirement has been relaxed.

“We offer a 100% loan-to-value guarantee. This means we can finance farmland at a price equivalent to the bank’s valuation of the property, unless additional collateral is provided,” Nangonya said.

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