By Mbatjiua Ngavirue Windhoek Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila yesterday urged the financial services industry to dedicate all its efforts towards finalisation of the first draft of the proposed Financial Services Charter (FSC). The industry has already missed its original deadline of June 30 to complete a first draft of the charter. New deadlines of August 7 for a first draft and December 1, 2006 for the final draft were agreed on in consultation with Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. While acknowledging that the formulation of the charter was a consultative and time-consuming process, she stressed the need to expedite a process that has already taken a long time. “I expect that the deadlines agreed upon with the Steering Committee will be kept,” she curtly stated. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila made the remarks when she opened a consultation meeting attended by representatives from the financial services industry, government officials and other stakeholders. The aim of the meeting was to review progress made and to discuss the way forward for those involved in the process. The minister said she hoped that by the end of the day, those attending the meeting would have a good notion of the contents of the eventual FSC. “I can see that the project is gaining shape. I am encouraged to see that after some initial problems, things are finally moving.” “I am in particular grateful that we – the government and the financial industry – have managed to engage in a fruitful dialogue and that we are working together on finding appropriate solutions,” she said. She was convinced that this participatory process was beneficial for both sides, and hoped that in future they will build on that experience. With regard to the charter itself, she was satisfied that it would truly deserve its name of being an integrated charter for the financial sector, embracing both the banking and the non-banking financial institutions. This was crucial for the charter to be meaningful. She encouraged both banks and non-bank financial institutions to keep up their commitments and use the formulation of the charter as a forum to strengthen their interaction. The financial sector, she added, was also expected to make its contribution to the broad development objectives of Namibia outlined in Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans. They could make this contribution through committing themselves to self-defined principles and objectives.
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