Friday 18 June 2021
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Nammic and NSFAF’s million dollar marriage

With the contract between Namibia Student Financial Aid Fund(NSFAF) and Nam-mic Payment Solutions due to end later this year, students are waiting anxiously to see how the new contract will be constituted and whether their concerns regarding high banking charges will be addressed.
Since Nammic and NSFAF signed a three-year contract for the provision of student payment solution services, students have reported  countless complaints over the payment system while student representatives have asked the financial regulatory body to investigate the company contracted to facilitate the system.
According to the contract, NSFAF paid a once-off license fee of N$1.2 million for the duration of the contract.
But despite the clear regulations in the contract, some students at tertiary institutions accessing their educational loans from the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) through Nam-mic have accused the company of ripping them off through high transactional fees.
NSFAF outsourced the administration and money management functions to Nam-mic when it changed its funding model for local institutions from the traditional fixed rate.
The Namibian National Students Organization (NANSO) in the past accused Nam-mic of ripping off the students.
Students are allegedly charged between N$5 to N$10 on as little as an N$100 withdrawal at Nam-mic, while NSFAF is turning a blind eye to students’ complaints. NSFAF can do bulk banking with any other bank. Why should there be a middle-man? Commercial banks have student bank accounts of which students are only charged once a month for withdrawals.
However this is not the case with Nam-mic where students are charged on every withdrawal made.”
The Namibia University of Science and Technology’s student representative council also accused Nam-mic Payment Solutions of ripping off students, and has requested Namfisa to investigate.
Under the current payment system, all payments are deposited into students’ accounts through Nam-mic.
The students then access the money using cards issued by Nam-mic to pay tuition fees and cover other costs. The Nam-mic card system is being used by Unam, NUST and IUM students.
However, some students claim that Nam-mic overcharges them for withdrawals made at Bank Windhoek ATMs.
Should NSFAF decide to renew the contract after the 3 year contract, a license fee of N$ 350 000 per year will apply.
The contract stipulates that a disbursement fee of N$3.50 will be charged per account to facilitate the disbursement of funds as per pocket/Wallet allocation.
Nammic further charges NSFAF beneficiaries N$30 for the procurement and personalization of a branded Mag strip NSFAF Beneficiary card.
According to the document, the card has three features that the beneficiaries can make use of to access funds for different purposes.
Tuition pocket/wallet: This pocket will be used to pay tuition fee directly to Institution of Higher Learning. This pocket/wallet will be loaded by NSFAF and can only be used to pay tuition fees. Money loaded in this pocket/wallet will be assigned to a specific university, i.e. it must be emptied by that specific university (cashier desk) and cannot be paid to a different university unless a student applies for a change of university.
Upkeep pocket/wallet: This pocket/wallet will be used to pay for non-tuition fees at Institutions of Higher Learning’s dining hall, cafeterias, and designated outlet in and around campus as well as off campus.
Personal pocket: This pocket/wallet will be used for any other purpose, i.e. depositing of money by parents/guardians. This pocket/wallet can be loaded by students and can be used at any registered participant.
The contract will expire on 23 November 2018.

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