Agribank avails N$104.6 million for drought relief measures

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Agribank has begun the rollout of the drought relief subsidies.

The Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi, during his budget speech in February, announced that the drought relief measures would be implemented from 10 July and that it would be in the form of an instalment relief and penalty interest waivers for clients.

Agribank Chief Executive Officer Raphael Karuaihe announced this on Wednesday during a media briefing at the bank’s headquarters.

“Accounts of qualifying clients will be credited in full as and when instalments fall due, and past-due accounts will be credited with immediate effect. The total commitment for this intervention is N$104.6 million. As a gesture of goodwill, Agribank offers to waive penalty interest amounting to approximately N$83 million for this financial year (April 2024 – March 2025) for all our clients that are in arrears,” said Karuaihe.

He also disclosed that 1 134 out of 2 634 clients, who currently owe the bank a total of N$1.1 billion, will benefit from the initiative.

“We are facing challenging times for both our clients and the bank. We want both to survive, and we are trying to balance many considerations to ensure our clients receive some scope to make it through this difficult period. For Agribank, our main and sustainable source of funds is loan repayments by our clients. This means that extending the same relief to all clients of the bank is unfortunately not a financially viable option at this stage,” stated Karuaihe.

He added that while the bank acknowledges that the instalment relief may not reach every affected farmer, they trust that the consideration of waiving penalty interest for all clients in arrears serves as a welcome relief.

According to Karuaihe, the bank will continue to maintain a flexible approach in discussions with individual clients in an attempt to find appropriate solutions in line with the bank’s policies and procedures.

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