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New Medical Aid not yet affiliated to fund regulator

Despite getting approval to operate as a medical aid fund, new kid on the block, Heritage Health Medical Aid Fund has not yet become a member of the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds (NAMAF).

Its bid to join the association lays squarely at the feet of the medical fund association, according to its Executive Director, Mike Baartman.
Baartman alleges that the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds has not moved fast enough in welcoming Heritage Health Medical Aid Fund into its stable.
“I have been in consultation with NAMAF since last week,” complained Baartman. “The whole NAMAF does not know how to conduct the process. They last registered a medical aid fund 20 years ago. They don’t have a clue.”
According to Baartman, the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) gave its clearance paving the way for the recently established medical aid fund to operate. Baartman is of the opinion that Heritage Medical Aid Fund does not need to be a member of the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds and said that becoming a member was voluntary.
“We comply with the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority Act and the soon to be introduced Financial Institutions and Markets Bill,” said Baartman.
Efforts to get a response from Namibia Association of Medical Aid Funds Chief Executive Officer, Gabriel Mbapeha were futile at the time of going to press.
All of Namibia’s medical aid funds are members of the association. The Namibia Medical Association of Namibia is a statutory body set up by an act of parliament.
“The fund determines tariffs for the entire industry.
In 2012, then Deputy Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein questioned the Namibia Association of Medical Aid Fund’s existence. He was quoted as saying, “Regulation of individual medical aid funds is entrusted to the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority and NAMAF also does not have a specific mandate that it carries out on behalf of the government.”
Added Schlettwein, “Keep in mind that the NAMAF board of directors consists of representatives of medical aid funds, with no representation by the Ministry of Health or any other independent stakeholder or medical practitioners.
“Due to this unilateral determination of the rates, members have to top up medical costs from their own pocket, especially for services provided by specialists.
“The introduction of the control board is not to set prices for medical and health services, but to ensure that these services are affordable and accessible to the public.”

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.