02 Aug 2015 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 02 AUG (NAMPA) Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has called on Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) Board members and management to maintain a healthy balance sheet for the bank.
Banks are successful only if they have developed a relationship with their clients based on trust, Schlettwein said.
To be trustworthy, a healthy balance sheet is an absolute must. I want to suggest that Agribank should aspire to get a credit rating of the highest possible level soonest, said Schlettwein during the Agribank gala dinner in Windhoek on Friday.
The Finance Minister also urged the bank to support and serve the agricultural sector with financing instruments that are affordable, reliable and relevant to stakeholders in the sector.
The minister encouraged the management to implement the Affirmative Action loan scheme as an important part of Namibia's land reform programme expeditiously.
You must, through affordable and relevant financial instruments, facilitate the improvement and enhancement of agricultural production both in quantity and quality to attain our goals to become a food secure economy, said Schlettwein.
He said the agricultural sector, which is a source of income for about 16 per cent of households in Namibia, is key to the country's job creation and poverty reduction goals.
It is however a cause for concern that the sectors contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is declining, he noted.
Measures to improve productivity in all sectors, particularly for the animal husbandry sub-sector, are especially important to raise incomes and production levels. The same holds for crop production, horticulture, agro-processing and aquaculture, he said.
The finance minister then encouraged the Agribank Board members and the management to develop a strategy that will encourage agro-processing in the agricultural sector through the diversification of the banks loan book.