During their 2020/21 financial year, which ended in March 2021, the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (AgriBank) disbursed loans to the value of N$217 million, 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.
The AgriBank board together with management presented these results from their annual report at the annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, 31 August 2021. The results were presented to government, as sole shareholder, which was represented by the ministers of finance and public enterprises. The Agricultural Bank of Namibia Act requires the board to as soon as possible, but not later than six months after the end of the financial year, submit their annual report to the line minister.
During the period under review, Agribank’s total loan book increased by 2%, while interest income increased by 1.2%, attributed to 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 to N$3.4 billion in 2020/2021.
A statement from bank spokesperson Rino Muranda said despite the uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank delivered solid financial results for a fifth consecutive year. 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. This, he added, reflects effective controls, operational efficiencies, prudent financial management and good corporate governance across the business.
On the farmers’ capacity-building front, a total of 13,948 farmers countrywide benefitted from training and mentorship interventions by the bank, which is an increase from 8 035 during the previous period. These interventions are aimed at skills and knowledge transfers as well as changing attitudes towards farming as a business, while also promoting relationships between clients and the bank.
Muranda stated that during the last financial year, the bank delivered on the promises made to the shareholder at the last AGM. Some of these include delivering credible financial results for sustainability, the smooth transition of the board and chief executive officer for business continuity, and to ensure the alignment of stakeholder expectations regarding the bank’s mandate and sustainable operations.
Going forward, AgriBank promised government that they will bring about a reduction in the arrears’ ratios from 24% to 22%, embedding the loans application automation system, implementing the hybrid cloud solution, and using robotics for improved administrative efficiencies. This is in addition to the high-level projects encapsulated in its new five-year strategic plan.
Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi commended the Agribank board and management for having made the institution vibrant, robust and dynamic over the past few years. He 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 applauded 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.