Despite the introduction of the credit guarantee scheme for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) feels more can be done to relax collateral and security requirements against loans.
In August 2020, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi announced the commencement of the scheme providing a collateral cover of 60 per cent to qualifying SMEs applying for finance from participating commercial financial institutions. The scheme allows for prospects and viable business plans but lacks the necessary collateral to obtain loans.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charity Mwiya said the government should explore with the financial services sector more creative funding to ensure the relaxation of security requirements against loans to better place swift access to much-needed loans for working capital to fund asset and stock needs.
She also said the government should ensure financial institutions' funding mechanisms are tailored for the specific needs of Namibia’s enterprise sector and not just copy and paste products from South Africa.
"The chamber is equally concerned about a skewed investment promotion strategy of the government that favours foreign investors and ignores the importance of domestic investment," Mwiya added.
She further called for the decentralisation of the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), saying that access to much-needed services adds to the cost of doing business, especially for small enterprises in towns and villages across Namibia.
The NCCI CEO noted that there is a growing security concern and the need for the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) to swiftly respond to reports of criminal activities such as the smuggling of goods, including fuel, from neighbouring countries.