Standard Bank Namibia says its overall compliance to the Namibian Financial Sector Charter (NFSC) stood at 61 percent as of December 31, 2013.
The Namibian Financial Sector Charter was introduced by the Ministry of Finance in November 2008. The NFSC is a voluntarily adopted transformation charter, which constitutes a framework and establishes the principles upon which empowerment will be implemented in the financial services industry in Namibia. The objective of the charter is to facilitate the transformation of the Namibian financial sector and to bring about tangible benefits for Namibians. Standard Bank Namibia through the Namibian Bankers Association is a signatory to the charter. The bank is committed to achieving full compliance with the minimum targets for 2014 and 2019 as set out in the charter. "Standard Bank Namibia aims to achieve specific targets that are set for the following pillars of the charter: ownership and control; human resources development; preferential procurement and enterprise development; corporate social investment; empowerment financing; and lastly, access and affordability of products and services," explained Advocate Sigrid Tjijorokisa, Group Company Secretary of Standard Bank. The Exercisable Voting Rights of Broad Based Economic Empowerment (BBEE) Beneficiaries Moard members of Standard Bank Namibia currently stand at 77 percent, whilst the Exercisable Voting Rights of Women BBEE Beneficiaries Board members currently stand at 60 percent. In relation to employment equity, the representation of BBEE beneficiaries in junior and middle management stands at 58.54 percent against the NFSC target of 30 percent. The budgeted investment on learning and development for the 2013 financial year as a percentage of payroll stood at 3 percent. The target set by the NFSC is 2 percent. Standard Bank Namibia for the period of January 2013 - December 2013 has spent 52.74 percent of its total procurement spending on BBEE accredited companies. The Namibian financial sector charter requires 30 percent by 2014. The provision of credit is a very important function of the bank in terms of sustaining and financing business activity. Total loans disbursed for BEE Small and Medium Enterprises constituted 3 percent of total business loans. Standard Bank Namibia pledges 1 percent of net profit generated by its business operations to CSI initiatives. This is four times more than what is required by the charter. The strategic focus of SBN's CSI programme is on entrepreneurship development, education and health and wellness.
With reference to financial literacy, Standard Bank Namibia has been partnering up with various social service organizations to impart financial knowledge to the general public and the youth in particular. In conjunction with the Youth Entrepreneurship Seminars Trust (YES Trust) SBN has mentored over 1 300 youths on financial literacy. This project has been in existence since 2007 and is aimed at placing the recipients in a position where they are able to make sound financial decisions. Standard Bank Namibia is also a strategic partner of the Ministry of Finance's Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI). As part of its support the bank has committed 0.2 percent of its profits to finance this initiative. The initiative was launched in March 2012. "Standard Bank Namibia is pleased to be making excellent progress in achieving compliance to the charter. Even though compliance to the charter is voluntary Standard Bank believes that achieving these targets by all main players in the financial sector will contribute to a stronger financial and economic system as a whole," said Tjijorokisa.