Message from the CEO
Mrs Hiliya Nghiwete
After NSFAF was delinked from the Ministry of Education and started operating as an independent entity in 2013, major changes and improvements have been implemented. Administratively things have significantly improved where processes are streamlined to ensure that students' affairs are well managed. The Fund has so far produced three Annual Reports (2013/2014; 2014/2015; 2015/2016) each one giving a clear insight into the activities and role that NSFAF plays within t Higher Educational sector and its contribution to Namibia becoming a knowledge-based society.
The papermill and bureaucracy of the NSFAF application process has been replaced with an online system that caters to our school-leavers and students' needs in the 21st Century. The previous process caused not only a huge frustration for the potential students but also unnecessary workload for the NSFAF team.
For the year under review, NSFAF launched an on-line application to alleviate the administrative challenges that we and our stakeholders faced in the past. The Loan Grant Application Management Information System (LGAMIS) is fully automated and seamlessly integrated application system to manage the entire student's lifecycle from the application to recovery of loans. To communicate and roll-out this new system and to ensure that no one was left out, a roadshow to all 14 regions of Namibia, visiting 119 locations in the most remote and rural areas was commissioned assisting potential students with their application.
The roll-out of this new innovative technologically advanced platform had some minor teething problems, but we embraced such challenges with open arms. Constantly monitoring online how the applicants were getting on, if they could access the necessary information. NSFAF resolved the challenges through the creation of an ‘applicant portal', improving communication with students and reducing the usage of emails and mobile phones in this regard. This led to a much quicker turnaround time for the applicants, who knew their status within minutes or hours, instead of months as had been the case in the past. It also meant that NSFAF was able to save costs by not printing 50,000 hard copy application forms and having to process them by hand. The LGAMIS system saved both time and money and improved service delivery of NSFAF to a primary stakeholder group, namely the students.
The year saw other challenges come NSFAF and Namibia's way in the form of a severe economic downturn. This contributed to a reduction and delays in monies received for loans, grants and bursaries to the students. Together with the Fiscus, Line Ministries and the students we are working to remedy the situation. We anticipate to have these issues to be a thing of the past as we continue to enhance our system and achieve a seamless integration with IHLs to alleviate a long verification process and thus ensuring prompt payment of registered students.
Furthermore NSFAF foresees a continued improvement of its processes, systems and service deliveries ensuring that we continue delivering financial assistance to those that need it and want to improve themselves through tertiary education. Especially with the professional and experienced Management Team and employees we now have in place.
During the period under review the Fund recovered N$4.52 million, a decrease of 0.87% on the recovery in the previous financial year. The Fund also saw a decrease of 5.3% from 2015 in the number of active debtors. The recovery function which is outsourced has been met with a number of challenges which is affecting collections. The team is working on attending to these challenges which will improve future collections
We are getting closer to realize our exciting and challenging strategic goal of becoming one of the most efficient and effective organizations in the Higher Education Sector.