Open letter to interim BoN Governor : Commercial banks’ intervention in the COVID-19 pandemic
Dear Mr. Ebson Uanguta
Bank of Namibia Interim Govenor
I trust that this email finds you well at the time when all of us are to play a meaningful role, as a united force, to ensure that we wage a formidable and victorious fight against COVID-19.
As you are aware, on 24 March 2020, the President announced a lockdown of the Khomas and Erongo regions – the two economic zones that contribute significantly to the GDP and the general economic operations of our country.
It does not need explanation and elaboration how this important measure impacts individuals’ and companies’ ability to service the loans they have with commercial banks that are yet to come to the table with a significant contribution during this crisis.
I am, therefore, writing to you as the Head of the Bank of Namibia to advise that you consider urgently calling banks to come to the table with a relief intervention particularly in the payment of loans and other facilities during this period when the income of our people is hindered with.
As you are aware, Standard Bank, in neighbouring South Africa, has already announced similar measures for that country.
We could go a step further by having a Bank of Namibia-led intervention that is applicable to all banks instead of private initiatives by individual banks. We can do it. I am aware, and indeed appreciate, the measures already taken by the Bank in terms of the Repo rate. The situation, however, require us to go further.
Furthermore, I write to persuade you to consider proposing an income tax relief for individuals and companies during this period.
I am confident that you will consider the above in good faith.
Job Shipululo Amupanda