Apex bank to continue COVID-19 relief measures to support economic recovery
The Bank of Namibia (BoN) on Wednesday announced that it will continue with some of the measures instituted to cushion households and businesses from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions on economic activities.
The unprecedented measures taken by the BoN included loan repayment moratoriums, liquidity relief measures, and the relaxation of the capital conservation buffer and concentration risk/single borrower limit, BoN Director: Strategic Communications and International Relations, Kazembire Zemburuka said in a statement.
“These relaxations allowed commercial banks to extend credit to economic sectors most affected by the pandemic and its aftermath,” he explained.
According to Zemburuka in 2022 the banking industry received 122,819 applications for repayment holidays.
“The value of loan approvals indicated that individuals dominated the approvals with a total of N$2.3 billion in 2022 compared to N$4.9 billion in 2021,” he said.
Zemburuka said this was followed by the real estate and business services sector with N$1.2 billion, trade and accommodation with N$731.1 million, and the mining sector with N$285.1 million.
Since its issuance in 2020, the Determination on Policy Changes in Response to Economic and Financial Stability Challenges following the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic (BID-33), was extended in 2021 and 2022 until 31 March 2023.
The new measures provided for in Determination BID-33 came into effect on 2 April 2023, and are valid until 1 April 2024, he said.
Zemburuka meanwhile said the policy interventions have gradually alleviated the impact of COVID-19 on the banking industry, however, despite the resumption of normal business activities, some of the key sectors of the economy that were hit hard by COVID-19 still require more time to recover from the impact of COVID-19 levels.