Saturday, October 24, 2020

Uneasy is Morapedi’s head that wears the rot

The National Development Bank is looking to the Pandamatenga and Mosesedi project farms as the financial institution moves to quell criticisms leveled against it over unsatisfactory performance.

The Bank Chief Executive Officer, Lorato Morapedi, painted a picture of a struggling institution before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies last week, decrying financial constraints worsened by the debt legacy she inherited on her ascendency to the throne.

Morapedi took to the reins in 2009 upon which time she found the parastatal bank in miserable debts, it emerged during the audit proceedings.

“Some of the bad debts are the result of non-performing loans … the debt legacy we inherited from the previous leadership,” she revealed responding to the query from Committee member Pius Mokgware who is worried about the uncollected money owed the financial institution.

NDB’s loan book stood at a staggering P1.3 billion out of which P600 million will be placed under doubtful debt while P300 million will be written off.

With so much owed to the institution mainly on non-performing loans, Mokgware questioned NDB’s success to date.

“We are grateful of the projects such as Pandamatenga and Mosesedi farms whose contribution to the country over food security could not be underestimated,” Morapedi said, citing millions of Pula injected to the projects “to where they are today”.

While Pandamatenga obtains a seasonal fund of P100 million, Mosesedi secured P40 million in addition to the infrastructural developments already completed at the projects.

Morapedi equates a total of P600 million already disbursed to the Pandamatenga farms for infrastructure development alone so far.

From simple tilling of land for commercial purposes, Pandamantenga farms have become a household name in farming circles, feeding the country with even basic food commodities including maize and sorghum, thanks to modern methods of farming not least the electrification of the project.

This all, courtesy of NDB financial loans.

Still at embryonic stage having started production in recent years, Mosesedi farms are expected to augment Pandamatenga farms similarly having started from scratch with the financial assistance of NDB.

The NDB mandate focuses mainly on agriculture and SMME’s products – a move the development bank’s CEO is adamant will stick to until the very end amid impending attempts of commercialisation and privatisation.

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