DBN urges SMEs to embrace responsible borrowing practices

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has issued a call to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adopt a more responsible approach when seeking loans.

Jerome Mutumba, the bank’s Executive for Marketing and Corporate Communication, stressed the significance of mutual responsibility in the context of development finance during a period marked by frequent requests for SME loan repayment write-offs.

According to Mutumba, these loans are intended to bolster Namibia’s development, economic activity, and prosperity.

He said that the dual nature of development finance, not only provides financial support but also aims to encourage accountability, sustainability, and beneficial developmental impacts.

“The issuance of loans to SMEs is geared towards advancing Namibia’s developmental, economic, and prosperity goals. This means that the loans have a developmental purpose beyond just financial transactions, targeting projects and businesses that contribute meaningfully to the country’s developmental objectives,” he explained.

Mutumba made a clear distinction between development finance and commercial finance, noting that the former is allocated to support and enhance economic activity. At the same time, the latter primarily aims to generate returns for the lender without necessarily focusing on developmental impact.

He, however, stressed that both types of finance require a return on capital to maintain operations.

“Failure to repay loans compromises development and commercial finance initiatives,” he said.

Mutumba also explained the concept of mutual responsibility, which involves shared duties between the bank (lender) and SMEs (borrowers).

“This concept encompasses transparent communication, adherence to agreed-upon terms, responsible use of funds for their intended purposes, and timely loan repayment. Additionally, mutual responsibility includes effective risk management, ensuring that loans are granted based on thorough risk assessment and that borrowers have realistic repayment plans,” he explained.

According to Mutumba, this approach is crucial for minimizing non-performing loans and sustaining development finance initiatives.

“In choosing between commercial and development finance, borrowers aim for a viable enterprise that supports financial growth and income, regardless of the financing source. However, the choice of lender can affect loan terms to the borrower’s advantage. Development finance institutions may accept higher risks, provide capacity-building services, and offer flexible repayment terms,” Mutumba added.

The DBN’s call for responsible borrowing and lending practices among SMEs emphasizes the importance of collaboration and accountability in achieving sustainable development and economic growth in Namibia.

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