10 THE FEEDBACK Tuesday, August 15 2017 | NEW ERA Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Query: Providing a clear perspective on the role of Agricultural Business Development (Agribusdev) in view of recent SMSes in the print media that question the role of Agribusdev, as some of the questions insinuate that Agribusdev does not care about Small-Scale [Irrigation] Farmers (SSIFs), and neglects them, etc. Response: Agribusdev is a State company established in terms of Section 21 of the Company Act, Act No. 28 of 2004. The company started operating on 15 April 2013 and is spearheaded by the Board, which falls under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF). 1. Our mandate is to manage and supervise the Green Scheme Programme, in accordance with the Green Scheme Policy. At present, we have 11 green scheme projects, of which eight are under Agribusdev management and three are being leased out to private companies, hence on the leased projects we only perform a supervisory role. By and large, Agribusdev took over the management and supervisory function that MAWF used to perform with effect from 13 April 2013. 2. The green scheme makes provision for the inclusion of SSIFs on the Green Scheme Programme and at present, we have 146 SSIFs across the entire portfolio. As per the Green Scheme Policy, it is an obligation for Agribusdev or any service provider to render them services. The noted service shall be rendered at cost. 3. The tenure of SSIFs on the Green Scheme Programme is based on a five-year lease agreement. SSIFs are expected to gain appropriate skills during that period in order to be able to venture into crop farming on their own. Agribank funds the small-scale farmers’ production activities with a five-year revolving loan, which is guaranteed by GRN (Government) through MAWF. Nonrepayment of loan or any funding advanced to the SSIFs constitutes a breach of contract. In a situation like that, and any other area of nonperformance, Agribusdev being the supervising institution initiates remedial action. 4. Seeing that SSIFs were finding it difficult to acquire their own land and capital after five years, Agribusdev in consultation with MAWF came up with the programme of graduating SSIFs to medium-scale farming units, i.e. from units of between 3 to 11 hectares to units of 12 to 30 hectares. Whenever mediumscale farming units are developed, SSIFs are given the opportunity internally to apply. At present, seven SSIFs were approved for graduation by the Board on 3 August 2017. 5. In the same perspective, and as part of the GRN Social Transformation Agenda, as enshrined in NDP5, 20 small-scale farmers are completing one-year training at Mashare Training Institute and 11 at Tsumis College. They are expected to graduate end of August 2017 whereupon they will be eligible for placement on the Green Scheme Projects; more so, on new units, or units vacated by farmers who graduate and SSIFs evicted/to be evicted. 6. At present, there are a few individual farmers, who are breaching the Lease Agreement despite several requests for them to rectify the material breach. Those farmers have resorted to writing letters seeking sympathy with different authorities instead of rectifying their respective breaches, as stipulated in their contracts. It must be underscored here that matters of dispute could only be sorted out within the framework of the signed Lease Agreement. The agreement provides mechanism for settling dispute that shall be followed. Further to that, Section 9, subsection 9.1 of the Green Scheme Implementation Manual provides further guidance: “However, report on sensitive issues (corruption, theft, grievances against Agribusdev Management) may be channelled to the Chairperson of Agribusdev Board or any other competent authority”. It is, therefore, not procedural correct for the aggrieved SSIFs to resort to media communication and other means without exhausting internal structures as laid down by the company. 7. Agribusdev undertakes to continue to render services to SSIFs, as this is our obligation and part of the GRN’s deliberate empowerment agenda. We have no intention to terminate contracts at will, but equally, we shall never condone non-compliance with respect to the set rules. It should also be equally clear that in case of eviction, these plots shall be allocated to equally deserving Namibians, more so, those who are keen to contribute to the National Agenda for Food Security. We call upon all participants on the green scheme to re-commit to our collective resolution of filling Namibia’s food basket. We value and continue to value all participants in the Green Scheme Programme, be it small-scale farmers or commercial private entities; we share the same vision and mission of making Namibia food secure. • Margaret Kalo, senior public relations officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, e-mail: Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org Happy 76 th Birthday Cde Nangolo Mbumba The SWAPO Party leadership and its entire rank and file membership would like to extend a Happy 76 th Birthday to our Secretary General, Cde Nangolo Mbumba. Your visionary leadership and wisdom has and will always be a pillar the SWAPO Party can rely on. We wish you good health, prosperity and many happy returns. SWAPO UNITED, SWAPO VICTORIOUS AND NOW HARDWORK
NEW ERA | Setting the stage for the UK’s post-Brexit trade relations with southern Africa Page 14 INSIDE BUSINESS This news is your business Letshego’s IPO to increase NSX market cap by N.4 billion Letshego Namibia Holdings CEO, Ester Kali Edgar Brandt Windhoek The intended listing by Letshego Holdings Namibia (LHN) towards the end of next month is expected to increase the overall market capitalisation of the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) by N.35 billion and the free float by N0 million. Letshego’s initial public offering (IPO) is expected to be 470 cents per share. Free float is generally described as all shares held by investors, other than restricted shares held by company insiders and thus does not include restricted shares, which are owned by company management, officers and other various insiders because it is assumed that those shares are being held on a very long-term basis. According to the NSX’s Information Officer, Johene Saal, the Letshego listing would go a long way in addressing the goals of the Financial Sector Strategy, which aims to deepen the country’s capital markets. “The NSX welcomes all new listings and believes it is crucial for companies to invite more shareholders into their businesses if they want to create and share wealth in the markets they do business in,” said Saal. The planned LHN IPO will be a first of its kind on the NSX, as the public offer will prioritise educating members of the general public, giving preference to Namibian residents, with a primary focus on previously disadvantaged Namibians (PDNs). LHN confirmed its intended IPOI last week, saying it would enable Namibians to be part of Letshego Namibia’s history of improving life. A statement from LHN noted that its purpose is to provide simple, appropriate and accessible solutions to the financially under-served and excluded in a sustainable manner, including, but not limited to, government employees. In line with this, the planned IPO will include people who are typically financially excluded, and are a key part of Letshego’s financial inclusion strategy. “We believe that to be totally financially inclusive, we should offer Namibians the opportunity to be part of our growth. Through the planned IPO, partners, customers and wider stakeholders of Letshego have an opportunity to own shares in this business they have come to know so well. As we grow, so shall ordinary Namibians’ wealth. We believe this is what empowerment is all about, as Letshego is now becoming our Letshego,” said LNH CEO, Ester Kali. “We will be calling our planned IPO ‘Ekwafo Letu’, which means ‘Our Support’. This is in recognition of what Letshego, at its core, stands for: to provide support. Support to those who are typically underserved by traditional financial institutions. Our Letshego story is about empowerment, via the solutions we provide, and now via Ekwafo Letu,” said Kali. Standard Bank’s Mungunda backs Okondjatu Expo Staff Reporter Windhoek As a son of Okondjatu, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive Vetumbuavi Mungunda has been a vehement supporter of the growth of the settlement by lending a hand where necessary. One of the largest settlements in the Okakarara constituency in the Otjozondjupa Region, Okondjatu Settlement,serves roughly 16 villages making it a potential business hub. The expo will take place from 28 August to 1 September. As such, Mungunda recently handed over a sponsorship of N 000 on behalf of Standard Bank for the settlement’s annual expo. The expo aims to celebrate the community’s diversity and heritage, while providing a platform for socio-economic development for would-be entrepreneurs to showcase their services and products. The bank sponsors the majority of trade fairs and expos across the country because it strongly believes in entrepreneurship and the contribution it can make to the country’s economy. Although he hailed some of the more successful trade fairs and expos, Mungunda said: “The challenge with some of these expos is that they are turning into events that focus on something other than trade. We need to make sure that we use them to boost trade, business and entrepreneurship.” He further urged the organisers of such events to go back and look at why expos are important. He also advised the organisers of the Okondjatu Expo to go back into the community and ask what it is they want to showcase that will draw in investors. “I would like to see people from the constituency who manufacture to see their products because producing something locally increases the value. There is a discussion on the challenges of recession, as the economy has not been growing for the past four quarters. As a result, income has been reduced. So, we need to look at how to reduce spending in this economic environment,” Mungunda advised. The reduction in spending will help entrepreneurs save money, which is important to have during a recession that income is an expectation, but expenses are a certainty. Therefore, people need to understand that when doing their financial planning because they do not know if they are going to get the income they expect. “There are two key things to remember; make sure you make investments that will generate cash and make sure to never run out of cash. You will also need to have cash saving of between three months to two years of your monthly salary,” Mungunda stressed. He reiterated that the bank believes in the importance of stimulating entrepreneurships and so would do its part in fostering its growth locally. Speaking on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, Lydia Kandetu hailed Standard Bank and other sponsors for their commitment to the expo and striving to make it a success. “Together we can. This is a good opportunity to showcase products and services, as well as share ideas which will aid in job creation and poverty alleviation. The government supports this expo and others across the country because they are in line with Vision 2030 and National Development Plans,” she explained. She concluded that the expo has the potential to improve the livelihoods of the Okondjatu residents and urged everyone to give it their support. Photo: Nampa/AFP Slow down… A Chinese girl looks in a mirror as she shops inside a store in Shanghai yesterday. China’s industrial output, a key engine of growth, slowed sharply in July as government efforts to rein in debt weighed on demand and economic activity, official data showed yesterday.