WINDHOEK – FirstRand Namibia says it has 2 886 registered shareholders of which 2 760 are Namibian – who together own almost 103 million shares valued at more than N$4.6 billion as of June 2018.
A debate in the National Council recently questioned the commitment of foreign-owned businesses in the country, especially when it comes to ensuring Namibians too start owning part of such multinationals.
New Era reported last week that Namibia has done very little in the financial services sector since independence – with 97 percent of its local financial institutions and insurance companies belonging to foreigners.
Recently, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein tabled the Deposit Guarantee Bill of 2018 in the National Assembly aimed to protect depositors in the event of failure of a banking institution.
It was during the debate of the Bill, in the National Council, that MPs questioned the commitment of financial institutions to Namibia, both in terms of ownership and corporate social responsibility.
During that debate, Kabbe Constituency Councillor John Likando cited FNB as one of the financial institutions doing wonders in neighbouring South Africa in terms of corporate social responsibility, a feat he said was not adequately replicated north of the Orange River.
But FirstRand, FNB Namibia’s holding company, defended its record in the country.
It said apart from individual shares, the company is also home to various investments by Namibian pension funds in FirstRand shares.
“A broad spectrum of the Namibian population has an interest in the company, with GIPF and many other leading pension funds invested in FNB shares with the express intention of making Namibian pensions grow,” it said.
It is largely through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust that the group and its businesses direct their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) activities, it hastened to point out.
“The group often cites its concerted drive to be the best Namibian financial services provider, to the best people and to create a better world for all whose lives they touch.”
“Investing heavily in the development and protection of the environment, economy and the society in which we operate, the group has a considered and long-term corporate social responsibility and sponsorships approach, delivering in excess of N$100 million in upliftment and supportive partnership to national concerns, across the country over the last five years,” it told New Era.
“FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, chaired independently by Ms Clara Bohitile, supported by long-term expert independent trustees, invests in programmes that focus on educational and financial literacy, community and health development, environmental guardianship, skills and capacity development, sports and development, and arts and culture,” waxed the group lyrically.
Its flagship company, FNB Namibia, supports sport in Namibia, co-sponsoring the Namibia Premier League with an amount of N$5 million per year.
“Last year alone FNB rallied behind the national Paralympic team which helped our elite athletes compete at the IPC Athletics World Championship in London.”
“The group is also very proudly associated with rugby in Namibia, development, university level and nationally with another nearly N$5 million across various sponsorships.”
Its other subsidiary, RMB, has a strong focus on growing and developing youth and enabling platforms for aspiring and seasoned artists, whether in the musical or in gallery showings world, the group told us.
“Each brand has developed a core focus area of responsibility regarding upliftment, investment and volunteerism, and teams across the group are well-versed on spreading positivity and their own brand of help.”