The Namibian Stock Exchange is a not-for-profit association of Namibian businesses who each donated N$10,000 as start-up capital.
In 1992 Namibian businesses and individuals formed an association, each contributing N$10 000 to raise the capital and start-up funds for a local stock exchange. Amendments were made to a 1985 Stock Exchanges Control Act and on 30 September the Exchange was launched, with trading starting the next day. The Stock Exchange operates under licence from the Ministry of Finance. It began with dual-listings of bigger Namibian companies which had previously listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and grew with more dual-listings of major financial institutions with extensive operations in Namibia. The first Namibian-only listings and capital raising exercises occurred in 1994.
Computerised screen trading was adopted from the start, and the Namibian Stock Exchange was the first exchange in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take up the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s offer to make use of its electronic trading system (JET system) in November 1998. The link-up, funded by a soft loan from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), part of the Swedish Government, should be seen in the context of plans by the stock exchanges of the SADC region to establish closer links and achieve greater integration by linking the region’s autonomous stock exchanges.
In 1999 the Namibian capital market plans to link to a paperless real time clearing and settlement system known as the Southern African Financial Instruments Clearing and Settlement System (SAFICAS), which is being introduced by the JSE and is based on the Swiss Stock Exchange system, to bring Southern African markets up to the latest global requirements for transparency, efficiency and speed, and featuring real time gross settlement with simultaneous payment.
The Exchange is also planning to introduce a development sector on its main trading board as a means to empower the country’s citizens.
The NSE is governed by the following bodies and regulations:
- The Stock Exchange Association, the custodians of the licence to operate the stock exchange. This body comprises 37 associate members representing the 37 corporate bodies in commerce who sponsored the establishment of the NSE.
- The Executive Committee, representing the interests of all the stakeholders in the NSE.
- Various Subcommittees, which are appointed from time to time as need arises. The Listings Committee meets regularly.
- The Stock Exchanges Control Act (1985, amended 1992), by which the NSE is regulated. Compliance is overseen by the Registrar of Stock Exchanges who is the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, assisted by the Department of Financial Institutions Supervision.
There is a handful of members of the Namibian Stock Exchange, up from one local stockbroker in 1992.
The trading hours are 09h30 to 16h00 with a five minute variation to the start and close times. The Exchange is closed on Namibian and South African public holidays and week-ends.
A 10% withholding tax on dividends is levied, and there is no marketable securities tax or capital gains tax. There are no restrictions on foreign investment (although foreigners need special permission if they wish to take over control of a bank). Foreign exchange regulations are the same as those in South Africa (the Namibia dollar is linked 1-to-1 with the Rand): investors must apply through an “authorised dealer” (most commercial banks) to ensure free remittance of dividends & proceeds of sales.
The NSE has established a Guarantee Fund to protect investors in the event of default by a broker on the exchange and also has a fidelity insurance policy against fraud or misappropriation of investor’s funds up to N$ 100 000. However, the stock-broker involved bears full liability before responsibility comes to the NSE.