Government, in partnership with participating commercial banking institutions and with the financial support of the Bank of Namibia, has announced the commencement of the Covid-19 SME loan scheme to the tune of N$500 million. Minister of Finance Iipumbu Shiimi said the scheme is designed to assist Small and Medium Enterprises that are hard-hit as a result of the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The loans, repayable over five years, and with the obligation to pay interest and capital deferred for six months from the date of the first drawdown, are to enable qualifying SMEs to cover certain fixed costs and working capital during challenging operations in a Covid-19 environment.