The Black Business Leadership Network of Namibia (BBLNN) staged a peaceful protest on Friday, during which it alleged that the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) had adopted a mandate to liquidate predominantly black businesses.
“We say this because it is being done with vigor as if the bank is using private money to fund black businesses,” network president Eliphas Simon said in a letter of formal notice.
Members of the network met early Friday morning to deliver their letter of formal notice to the Bank of Namibia, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance and the DBN.
BBLNN was formed by a group of previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs from different business sectors, who are now demanding government intervention in the face of their collective challenges.
“Our main challenge is DBN and its (business) conduct, as its policies affect us directly and indirectly in negative ways,” Simon charged.
He went on to accuse DBN of disarming and crippling previously disadvantaged Namibian entrepreneurs, while derailing and sabotaging national goals to address socio-economic challenges.
He said that the current and future financial situation they face as entrepreneurs has, among other things, led to layoffs and job losses, causing more socio-economic hardship for employers, employees and dependents.
In efforts to find amicable solutions with DBN, Simon said they had engaged the development bank since 2019 but had yet to receive positive feedback.
The network therefore recommends that the government find reasons and grounds for their allegations that DBN has deviated from its core mandate, principles and objectives, and instead operates as a private commercial bank.
“Thoroughly investigate all DBN operations and transactions, including their beneficiaries and how each account and customer was handled,” Simon stressed.
He noted that there is an urgent need to intervene in the management of economic stimulus crises to avoid the repossession of businesses and the homes of business owners.
“The Ministry of Finance must approach the central bank and advise them to organize a symposium of entrepreneurs and bankers as one of the few interventions that can be taken to find lasting solutions to the problems we face” , said Simon.
He added: “Stop the assault on black businesses; we are entrepreneurs – not criminals. We have families to support.”