Loans at SME Bank could be recalled

09 Aug 2017 11:30am
WINDHOEK, 09 AUG (NAMPA) – Loans awarded by the recently liquidated SME Bank could be recalled, but taxpayers’ money invested in the financial institution is likely not to be recovered.
Speaking at a panel discussion on the closure of the SME Bank and its impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Namibia on Tuesday, Director at the Office of the Ombudsman Eileen Rakow explained the liquidation process would proceed with money owed to the bank being recovered.
“That money is gone and will have to be made up from somewhere else, and that is the biggest impact on the citizens and the man on the street, because they will have to recover that money,” Rakow said.
She added that the legal procedures would take a lengthy period to complete and would require a lot of patience from Namibians.
The SME Bank was placed in provisional liquidation on 11 July 2017 as a result of unsound investments and missing N.dollars 200 million.
The liquidation order stands to be made final on 15 September 2017.
Also at the public talk organised by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation, SME representative and owner of the Xwama Traditional Restaurant in Windhoek, Twapewa Kadhikwa expressed disappointment in the closure of the bank.
“It is criminal to us (SMEs) because we must now figure out a way to survive between commercial banks and a bad institution,” she said.
Kadhikwa said although SMEs are not the backbone of the Namibian economy, they are a critical component of the financial system.
About 208 staff at the bank lost their jobs following the bank’s provisional liquidation. The Bank of Namibia in March this year disempowered board members and launched an investigation.
The Namibian government has over the past four years pumped about N.dollars 477 million into the SME Bank since its establishment in 2013.