Message from the Chairperson
Ms. Patty Karuaihe-Martin
The period under review was the second year for the current NSFAF Board, following its appointment effective from 01 January 2015. Meanwhile it was a fourth year of NSFAF's existence and operation as an independent entity after its separation from the then Ministry of Education. During the period concerned, NSFAF made tremendous strides in terms of both the presence as a corporate citizen and in improving the lives of ordinary Namibians through provision of financial assistance toward learning opportunities.
By far, throughout the period under review, the Shareholder and all stakeholders have continuously demonstrated their confidence in NSFAF as the only national provider of financial assistance to students. This has been evidenced by the overwhelming support that Government has been giving to the institution and further by the ever increasing demand of the NSFAF services and products from the public in the course of the reference period. In more specific terms, the Fund is grateful for fiscal supports it received from the treasury as well as the enabling guidance and direction in the form of leadership from the line Minister, Honourable Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi. It is beyond doubt that our line minister is an embodiment of Warren G. Bennis' wisdom, who once said that "leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality". This is what Dr. Kandjii-Murangi has and continue to demonstrate in relation to NSFAF.
As expected, the NSFAF Board remained consumed by the governance agenda throughout the period under review. More specifically, the Board's attention has been occupied by the demand to solidify the governance framework in the granting of financial assistance with a distinctive focus on transparency, accountability and sustainability of the NSFAF. In meeting this demand, the Board, with the aiding of Board Committees held its quarterly meetings and where it was justified special meetings were relied upon, during which crucial and impactful decisions were taken. It was during the reference period when Board successfully completed the Strategy review to re-align the institutional focus to the contemporary reality. In addition, Board have approved the following operational policies after either the fresh development or review:
· Code of Ethics;
· Remuneration Policy;
· Training and Development;
· Employees Health and Safety;
· Performance Management;
· Travel and Substance;
· Conditions of Service; and
· Guidelines and Framework for Risk Management.
The review, in instance where, it was done was justified by policy gaps identified during the process of implementation of already approved policies. The Board has further ensured that both external and internal audits were carried out in order to provide combined assurance. Regarding award, a total of 14100 students (inclusive of vocational, undergraduate, post-graduate and special initiatives) were granted financial assistance during the period under reviewing. Meanwhile, about NAD 4,523,241.00 has been recovered from the former beneficiaries. Notable inroads were equally made in addressing several challenges, identified in the 2015/16 Annual Report under the Chairperson's report. This includes, having gone out to look for more scholarship opportunities for Namibian students as well as leveraging on the co-funding initiative; having entered into MOUs with a number of institutions inorder to enhance cooperation with NSFAF.
Despite the considerable strides made by the institution, there are still numerous challenges that are laying ahead, which are for as long as they remain, will forever impede the strategic execution of NSFAF mandate. Thus, it is reported herein that for the succeeding reporting period, it will be a priority in terms of the Board agenda, to address the following:
· Get the Ministerial Approval of the Award of Financial Assistance Policy;
· Get the Ministerial Approval of the Recovery Policy;
· Get the Ministry to gazette the Approved Institution of Higher Education;
· Get the Ministry to publish the list of fields of study and courses which are to be given priority in terms of funding;
· Establish an in-house Audit Function;
· Approval of appointment for key Executives in the vacant positions that are crucial in the attaining of the Fund's Strategic Objectives;
· Company – wide institutionalization of Performance Management System;
· Improve recovery rate;
· Conducting Board Performance Appraisal; and
· Re-building the image of NSFAF.
Finally, I would like to extend special gratitude to my fellow Board members for their continuous commitment and conviction in the cause of NSFAF. Equally, Board is increasing indebted to NSFAF management and staff for their support, hard work and dedication in ensuring that equity and fairness in the granting of financial assistance.