Owing to the profitability indexes, Namibia’s financial sector is dominantly occupied by foreign investors and most of the profits recorded leave the country to parent companies outside Namibia. However, considering the profitability rate of financial services providers such as banks, their commitment toward corporate social responsibilities (CSRs) and initiatives does not equate and begs for more.
These were sentiments of a senior lecturer from the University of Namibia (Unam) Ralph Marenga, who added CSRs should not be seen as a costly exercise by banks, but rather as a much-needed responsibility aimed at benefiting the very same host communities that contribute to their profitability.
“CSRs should be meaningful and impactful, particularly in a country such as Namibia that is marred by an ever-expanding gap between the rich and the poor. Considering that most of the banks in Namibia are foreign-owned, their commitment towards CSRs would go a long way in improving their acceptability and integration into host communities, hence the business longevity sense of CSRs,” explained Marenga.
He further advised a deliberate effort in reforming legislation to compel and incentivise foreign debt investment in investing more in CSRs would close developmental gaps that government has not been able to fill.
Releasing its annual social value report for the period ending 30 June 2022, Capricorn Group and its subsidiaries in Namibia and Botswana, invested N$15.4 million, which is an increase of 26.9% in corporate social responsibility initiatives. This represents 1.3% of the group’s profit after tax, which is in line with the group’s CSR policy guideline of 1% of profit after tax. Its profit is up by 16.6% to N$1.15 billion.
FirstRand Namibia, in its corporate social responsibility report for the year 2022, stated the company spending on CSR is over N$13 million. According to the bank in its 2021 integrated annual report, earnings per share rose to 390.9 cents (2020: 313.4 cents). Profit before tax went up by 23% to N$1.492 billion (2020: N$1.209 billion) for the period under review.
Nedbank Namibia stated to New Era the budget for this year is N$1.5 million.
In its 2021 annual report, Nedbank Namibia’s after-tax profit grew to N$204,5 million (2020: N$117,7 million) and earnings per share were 290,3 cents.